Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Dante Exum (Australia) is interviewed after being selected as the number five overall pick to the Utah Jazz in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Dante Exum: Things to Watch For in FIBA World Cup

The Australian men’s basketball team, the Boomers, has announced its final 12-man squad for the basketball World Cup in Spain, with Dante Exum making the final cut. So, with Exum such an enigma for most NBA fans, this will be the first time many will get the chance to see Exum play a professional basketball game. And with that in mind, here are a few things Jazz fans should watch out for:

1. Shooting

A lot has been made about Exum’s ability to shoot the ball, with many criticizing his shooting form. His form is far from perfect and has several technical errors to it. In his Summer League showing, he shot 30.8 percent from the field, with only 16.7 percent from 3-point range. It will be interesting to see if Exum will still struggle with shooting, or if he has made any changes to his shooting form.

Jazz fans, keep your fingers crossed, as this has the potential to make or break Exum’s career.

2. Defense

Exum showed great defensive instincts in Summer League, with good timing on rotations and some impressive quick hands to generate steals. However, Exum still has to learn how to use his size and athleticism to his full advantage when playing defense. This will be a true test for him as he will be going against professionals, instead of high schoolers or fellow draftees.

3. Fitness

One of the criticisms of Exum’s games at Summer League was his lack of conditioning. He looked out of shape, and faded towards the end of games. He would be seen with his hands on his hips during stoppages, but this is to be expected, as Exum hasn’t played a 5-on-5 game in months.

Exum is unlikely to see more than the 26.6 minutes per game he was allocated in Summer League. The Boomers will play Exum off the bench due to his raw ability, and prefer to go with experienced players Adam Gibson and Joe Ingles as starters. At this point, any professional game time will be good for Exum, as it allows him to work on his game fitness.

4. Best Position

Another thing to look out for is Exum’s best position. He showed real signs of promise when he was the lead ballhandler for the Jazz, utilizing his speed to attack the basket and his court vision to set his teammates up. With the Jazz already relying on Trey Burke to run the point, they are hoping that Exum can function as a shooting guard – if this fails, Burke will have to play the off-guard role, with Exum as the point guard.

On the Boomers, Exum will probably play as an off-guard. The Boomers have Matthew Dellavedova, who will most likely be the backup point guard of the team. Keep an eye on this, as if Exum struggles as a shooting guard, he might be asked to swap roles with Dellavedova.

 

Regardless, the FIBA World Cup will be a good stage for Exum to showcase his talent, and Jazz fans can finally know more about the enigmatic young Australian guard.

Tags: Dante Exum Fiba World Cup Utah Jazz

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