10 young NBA players in need of a breakout season in 2017-18

Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images /
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Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images /

4. Dante Exum

Technically speaking, Dante Exum has only played two seasons in the NBA. But since he missed the entire 2015-16 campaign with an ACL tear that’s hindered his progress with the Utah Jazz to this point, the overwhelming takeaway from his career thus far is how much further along he should be.

In Exum’s defense (pun intended), he’s a quality defender who’s still 22 years old. His long arms and good defensive instincts will help him stick in Quin Snyder’s backcourt rotation, even if he never evolves into the franchise point guard the Jazz thought they were drafting back in 2014.

But that’s kind of the point: Utah was expecting so much more with that fifth overall pick, and whether it’s because of injury, a crowded backcourt or his supremely underwhelming career .385/.308/.743 shooting splits, the offensive end hasn’t even come close to clicking yet.

With Ricky Rubio, Rodney Hood, Raul Neto, Alec Burks and rookie Donovan Mitchell on the roster, Exum has no clear path to a breakout season. But after being drafted more than three years ago, it’d be great to see him stay healthy and prove himself worthy of that top-five selection.