Editor’s note: This is one of our Freelance Friday posts, a chance for users from around the Jazz community to contribute to Salt City Hoops. This post was written by Brad Tilley. Brad (@bradjtilley) is a devoted Jazz fan who can’t watch a game without keeping player and team stats in his head. He is also an Analytics Consultant who lives in Bountiful with his wife and two-year old daughter.
Hi, my name is Brad Tilley and… I am addicted to watching Dante Exum play basketball. You can chalk it up to the fact that he gives me a reinvigorated hope that the Jazz might have drafted a player that can help lift them back into competitive relevancy in the coming years.
Most recently, I have fed my addiction by watching his national team exhibition games leading up to the FIBA World Cup this weekend. Sadly, only 3 of the Australian national team games could be viewed on replay. I did an analytical breakdown of those three games, which pitted the Aussies against Finland, Lithuania and the Philippines. Here is my analysis:
- Currently, Dante has two great natural skills. The first is his court vision and passing, which is extremely fun to watch. In the 3 games, he averaged 5.3 assists/game in just over 19 MPG. Adjusted for playing 30 minutes a game (my estimate for his playing time this year), that equates to 8.1 assists/30 minutes. Those stats are even more impressive given that he has been a co-point guard with Matthew Dellavedova on the national team; a similar situation as this upcoming season may hold! Oh, and he averaged about 3 hockey assists/30 minutes as well. His court awareness at his age is stunning.
- Dante’s second natural skill is his speed. Although he isn’t aggressively looking for his shot at this point in his development, he drew 3 fouls/30 minutes on his dribble-drives. Most of these came when he was blowing by his defender on the fast break or in the half-court. He did get lost on defense a few times, but for the most part he used his speed and quickness well while defending on the perimeter.
- As you can see from the shot chart below, Exum takes what are typically thought of as highly-efficient shots. He took one mid-range jumper over the three games, and the other 23 shots were either 3-pointers or within 8 feet of the basket. This tendency is definitely in line with the desirable shots of the new offense that Quin Snyder is instituting.
Dante Exum’s shooting in the 3-game sample.
- Those corner-threes. The sad part: all of those 7 corner threes were open looks. With Trey and Dante sharing the point guard duties, when Trey is running the pick and roll, Dante will most likely be parked in the corner. He is still young, so I’m hoping he could develop a serviceable 3-point shot a la Kawhi Leonard, who was not a shooter at all at San Diego State.
- Dante shot a dismal 5 free throws over his 9 exhibition games;and he only made one of those. Yikes. From the shot chart (and personally watching him) you can tell that he gets to the rack, he’s just not to the point of seeking contact at the rim yet. Instead, he’s either going in uncontested or most likely dishing the ball off. He did have one sick drive and floater in Jonas Valanciunas’ face though.
- Exum’s playmaking ability was consistent, but his shooting was not. Against sub-par competition (i.e. Finland, the Philippines), he shot 51.5% from the field. In the three games against France and Lithuania, he only shot 27.3%. As we also saw in the summer league, Dante is going to have to adjust to the higher level of competition.
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