The young Australian is one of more the mysterious prospects in the 2014 NBA draft class.
Dante Exum has been on the radar of NBA team for some time now, though for a player who is projected by most draft analysts to go in the top five, a comparatively small amount is known about him or his game.
Exum is the son of former NBA player Cecil Exum, who also played in North Carolina’s 1982 NCAA championship winning team alongside Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and James Worthy.
Cecil moved to Australia in order to continue his basketball career, eventually settling in Melbourne, where Dante grew up. Exum attended the Australian Institute of Sport, a prestigious centre that has seen some of Australia’s finest sportsmen and women pass though its doors. Exum has also played for Australia’s under-17 and under-19 national teams, guiding the latter to a fourth place finish in the 2013 FIBA under-19 World Championship.
Exum is naturally point guard but at 6’6 with a wingspan of 6’9.5 he will become one of the longest 1 guards in the league when he is drafted. His size combined with impressive natural athleticism means that should Exum end up playing the point for the team that drafts him, he will immediately become on the biggest mismatch nightmares in the league.
Despite his inexperience, Exum will be able to give smaller guards a difficult time on both the offensive and defensive end of the floor right from the get go.
As for Exum’s game, all that we know about him comes from the small pool of footage available on the internet. Though from what we have seen, we should expect big things from the young man.
Exum’s rangy build and physical capabilities allow him to get to the basket with ease in transition and in the half court and as a gifted passer he can act as the facilitator in an offense, while also being able to take over the game as a scorer when need be.
On the defensive end of the ball Exum projects to be a nuisance. His long arms will be able to pester opposing ball handlers as well as disrupt passing lanes. Exum’s two-way potential will certainly tempt teams with high lottery picks, especially those in need of a point guard,
In terms of a potential destination, several suitors have emerged. It seems unlikely that either the Cavaliers or the Bucks will pass one of the top prospects for Exum, however the 76ers might be tempted to pull the trigger on Exum at number 3.
There's a natural connection between Exum and the 76ers as Philadelphia's head coach Brett Brown coached Cecil Exum in Australia. While Philadelphia would probably not consider trading last year's Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams, there's a possibility that they choose two implement a two point guard system similar to what we've seen the Phoenix Suns use this season.
With Carter-Williams standing at 6'6 the 76ers would have the longest back-court in the league should they add Exum, a seriously difficult matchup for any backcourt out there.
The most likely scenario, however, is that Exum gets taken 4th by the Orlando Magic. After experimenting with Victor Oladipo at the point this season, the Magic will be keen to get a natural point guard so that they can slide Oladipo over to shooting guard.
The fit seems perfect for the Magic and Exum and it's difficult to imagine them passing on him. Saying that, it would not be a surprise to see either the LA Lakers or the Boston Celtics trade up for Exum on draft day as both teams have expressed an interest in acquiring his services.