If you have not heard of Dante Exum by now, that is alright. I don’t believe too many people know who he is at the moment. That will definitely change once he gets into the league. Doing this scouting report was different because Dante Exum is born and plays in Australia. I love seeing other players from other countries join the NBA because other countries play basketball very differently then we do in United States and it always has peaked my interest to see how other countries play offense and defense. For the time being, Dante is expected to be a number 5 draft pick. The biggest reasoning is because of his height – at 6’6 and a 6’9 wingspan, you would assume that he is a shooting guard or even shooting forward. I was surprised to find out he plays point guard. Dante is an extremely raw talent, but has a lot of potential to become at least an all-star in a couple of years. He has got a lot learn still. Lets take a better look.
An unusual name for an unusual player, Dante is very big for the point guard position. The very first thing that came to mind was that he would bring the same advantages to his position as Magic Johnson did in terms of sizing. Lets start off with what he is good at. For a 6’6 point guard, Dante is quick. His ability to change speeds is a bit of an eyebrow raiser. He is best when attacking the rim, and his long reach allows his to get the ball into the basket in ways a small guard would not be able to do. He has decent court vision by being able to thread a pass and it helps that he attracts a lot of attention in the paint to be able to pass it out to an open defender. Dante’s height gives him a shooting advantage also, being a very good catch and shoot shooter. In the FIBA U-19 Championships, he averaged 47% from the field which is pretty good. Dante is has basketball smarts too – knowing when to use his size on a match up and when be more passive. For an 18-year-old kid he has a high basketball IQ. Let us not forget how athletic he is. Now Dante is not a super leaper but he has some serious hang time and uses it often. He can contort his body after taking contact very well, something that players like Russel Westbrook and Derrick Rose have been known to do so well. His long wingspan makes him a nuisance on defense as well, being able to keep up with defenders and bothering shots is a big plus. Not to mention he has so much room to grow.
For all the things does right, there are a lot of things that he does wrong. There are a couple of aspects in Dante’s game that are not there yet, and I am going to chalk them up to age. Dante is a 6’6 point guard, but honestly plays a lot like a shooting guard. Dante does not look to facilitate the offense. Similar to Russel Westbrook and Derrick Rose, Dante looks to score first, pass second. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the difference is that those two guys have shown that at times they can facilitate if a game dictates the need. While Dante has great court vision, he is not a great passer often passing the ball too soft or in the improper place. While quick, Exum has a hard time with his ball handling skills. He is not always graceful when driving to the hoop, and that is most evident when in a half court setting. Smaller defenders have a better time bothering his dribble then taller defenders and that problem wont go away once he is in the NBA. Dante needs to learn how to the protect the ball better, especially when going to the hoop. Dante also has poor shot selections. You can see Dante’s habits of being used to play with players not at his height when he is shooting the ball, taking ill-advised 3 point shots and driving to the lane with 2 or 3 guys draped over him. One of the most interesting thing I noticed in watching the Nike Hoop Summit was that there were a lot of times that the ball was in his hands and he opted to shoot when there was an open pass available. Now if I noticed that, then the NBA scouts that were present most definitely noticed that as well. Not only does he take ill-advised shots, but he also shoots overly difficult shots often taking the more difficult shot. As pointed out by Draftexpress.com, Exum hangs on to the ball too long as he shoots. He shoots the ball as he is coming down instead of at the top of his shot, but because he is tall it has become a part of his game. This is what effects his shooting arc and why he is only in the 33% from distance. As stated before, Dante is still only 18 years old. I am going to say that he is just inexperienced and has not played with the same level of talent as some of the other draft prospects have had. Here is a video of Dante so that you can be the judge:
Needless to say, Dante is going to be fun to watch and grow. I think coupled with the right coaching staff he can learn to be a fundamental piece to a team. Some other things that concern me a bit more are his weight and his height. Being so tall and not liking to be a facilitator makes it hard for me to see him play the point guard position and believe he will be more effective at the two position being utilized as a shooting guard. Regardless his long reach and ability to get to the rim will make him a good player. How he learns how to fit within his team and play defense will make him better. What team do you see Dante Exum fitting in best? Should he stay a point guard or should he be moved to the 2? You let us know what you think.
All stats were provided from realgm.com