Sunday, July 13, 2014


I've seen Dante Exum play  before, but I honestly didn't remember at all. He and I were both in attendee at the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit, him as a player and me as a spectator, but I was more interested in Wiggins and Parker and Dennis Schroder, who was absolutely awesome in that particular game.

Exum was the mystery in this draft. The subject of hyperbole you wouldn't believe. "Mentally, he is built like Kobe, except he passes." "This kid can play three positions, and if you get him against short enough dudes, five positions." "Dante Exum has in himself an orb of pure basketball energy. When he gets to the NBA he will either harness that orb and dominate for twenty years, or it will become unruly in his fragile human flesh and eat him alive, right there on the court." There were the skeptics, too: "Sure, he looks great playing against Australian high school boys, but that's not a level of competition that lends itself to a real knowledge of his true skills." "He is going to get MOWED DOWN by NBA competition. He's too skinny and he can't shoot! He has never shot!" "He is made from candy and he will get the hardwood all sticky. Drafting Exum is basically tantamount to pouring hot candy all over your floor. His summer league debut was HOTLY ANTICIPATED. What would happen? Would he blow everyone away, ushering in the new era of Exum? Or would he grab the ball and burst into tears; "I'm sorry everyone, this was a scam. I have never played basketball. I will collect my paychecks from the Jazz and retire to a life of shame in darkest Australia." Anything was possible!

Aaaaaaand... he was good! Not mind altering Basketshrooms, but you can understand what everyone sees in him. Three assists on the night and he would have gotten more if he was playing with a non Rudy Gobert big man. He exhibited A disgusting crossover that made me ashamed to in out local American crossovers. (Watch Rudy Gobert on that play, requesting a lob instead of a bounce pass. Rudy was actually kind of playing veteran leader all night, a lot of shoulder patting and talking and encouragement to go along with his not totally there yet big man play) His conditioning isn't there yet: Clyde Fraizer, who called the game on NBATV, pointed out that he was "Grabbing his jersey" to get blow before the end of the first half. He jumper looked like it might still be a work in progress, but he did can a three to tie the game with less than two minutes left.

Another thing he almost certainly is is a point player. He was playing pass first all night and he has a really good handle. If Burke ends up being good, it will be fascinating to see how the Jazz handle it. The Bledsoe/Dragic lineups in Phoenix last year might be arrow pointing to the future. They even signed Isaiah Thomas so they could never be without two point guards on the floor at the same time. Shooting guards seem like they're getting more and more terrible everyday. Think about people lusting after Klay Thompson, anything for positional purity, while anyone observing the modern NBA with a clear mind would always prefer two on the court at the same time who can handle and shoot. West and Baylor didn't play in a Point/Shoot dynamic. Maybe that scaffold that was built when they left is league is going to get washed away by chimeras like Exum. If he's any good in the actual NBA, of course.

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