Hiding inside the mask known as potential can be an extremely scary, but yet exciting risk for an NBA team. As Utah inches closer to the upcoming 2014-15 season, it’s apparent that they’re going to be in an ideal position to be able to take that risk with the uncertain entity, Dante Exum.
In an age where you can get comprehensive video breakdowns and advanced stats in an instant, having such an uncertain prospect like Dante Exum seems like an ancient relic from the past. While there’s always questions about how a top prospect will be able to make an immediate transition to the pro game, Exum is a totally different case because there really isn’t much known about him compared to the average college player. The vast majority of the hype related to Exum pertained to how he performed in different exhibition games against other top-notch talent or unclear clips of him working against other Australian prospects.
As we get close to the upcoming season, it would appear that Exum’s uncertain potential will slowly fade away as we finally seem him compete against actual NBA-level talent. While the regular season will be the “real” showcase of Exum will be able to match-up against better competition, the preseason has offered us brief glimpses of how he’ll be able to instantly produce in the Jazz rotation.
While those two highlight videos aren’t exactly the best way to really see how a player will be able to perform throughout an 82-game marathon stretch, those clips are able to showcase some pretty appealing traits. Perhaps the biggest trait that’s apparent in those videos is that Exum continues to work as an off-ball player. Exum looked extremely comfortable working as an off-ball guard and being able to find open areas to shoot. That particular skill will definitely pay dividends for the Jazz, as he’ll be able to work alongside the pass-friendly Trey Burke inside the team’s back-court.
Even though his work as an off-ball guard has been appealing, Exum has shown some flashes to be able to quickly find an open teammate to distribute to. As a player that has barely played the atypical American brand of basketball, Exum looks pretty comfortable by working inside the pick-and-roll. With that in mind, he has had his fair share of moments where he just looks absolutely lost. That act of confusion has lead to Exum having around 2.4 turnovers per game.
Despite the wide array of expectations that come from Exum being a lottery pick, it’s clear that the raw 19-year-old prospect will have a more limited role compared to the likes of Wiggins, Parker and Aaron Gordon. Exum’s initial role inside the Jazz rotation will probably be as the main 2nd unit guard that can replace either Trey Burke or Alec Burks. While that role will probably be more limited because how important they are to Snyder’s new system, Exum will still get an opportunity to showcase himself on a regular basis.
As previously mentioned, the jury is still out on how Exum will perform during his initial NBA season. With that in mind, that journey towards discovery could be a scary but yet exciting ride.