PROSPECT PROFILE: DANTE EXUM

Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images
by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

PLAYER SUMMARY – Canada has produced two top-five picks in the last three Drafts – including the overall No. 1 last year and the potential No. 1 this year. Australian hoops haven’t reached that level yet, but more and more athletes from Down Under have started to crack NBA rotations and this June, guard Dante Exum hopes to be the highest-drafted Aussie since Andrew Bogut was the top overall selection in 2005.

The versatile Exum – who measured a legitimate 6-6 in shoes with an impressive 6-9 ¼ wingspan – has the ability to play both guard spots and even played a little small forward coming up. (He’s also continuing to add muscle to his frame, bulking up almost 10 pounds since his appearance at the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit). Still only 18 years old, Exum is, according to many, just scratching the surface of his huge potential. Exum moves very well without the ball and is exceptional at creating for his teammates but is also effective playing off the ball. His specialty is getting to the basket and drawing and-1’s, using his explosive first step, size and body control to get into the heart of the defense. On the defensive end, his length, basketball IQ and quickness allow him to fill passing lanes, where he consistently comes up with steals and loose balls.

By all accounts, Exum is a fantastic team player with top-notch intangibles. He’s been described as coachable, grounded, humble and intelligent.

The knock on Exum – as with any international player – will be the level of competition he achieved success against. In many of the U20 competitions, he was simply the more physically opposing player. There are concerns about his Exum’s shooting, which has been inconsistent – particularly from the stripe, where he shot around 65 percent in international competitions. He’s versatile enough to play either guard position, but at this stage, his handle isn’t at the elite level of NBA point guards and his shot isn’t refined enough to play him as a full-time 2.

Exum, who comes from good basketball bloodlines – (his father played at UNC along with Michael Jordan and James Worthy) – isn’t a finished product, but his physical attributes, relentless motor and basketball IQ will make him too intriguing for a PG-needy team to pass up.

PLAYER SNAPSHOT

  • Height: 6-6
  • Weight: 196
  • Position: PG/SG
  • College: Australia

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PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS – At just 15 years of age, Exum became the youngest player to ever participate in the Australian men’s senior national team. He was named to the All-Tournament Team at both the U17 and U19 World Championships in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Exum played for the international select team at the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit and led his squad to a win over a US squad led that featured Jabari Parker and Julius Randle – netting 16 points, three rebounds, two assists and a pair of blocks.

PLAYER COMPARISON – Because of his size and speed, Exum has been compared to bigger point guards like Penny Hardaway and Leandro Barbosa. In terms of straight measurables, the closest physical comparison is the 2014 NBA Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, who measured in at 6-5 ¾, 184 pounds with a 6-7 ¼ wingspan at last year’s pre-Draft camp.

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