2014 NBA Redraft: 25. Dante Exum, Houston Rockets
As so many overseas prospects do, Dante Exum came into the NBA shrowded in mystery. A 6’6” explosive point guard, he had the potential to be the long-term solution for the Utah Jazz’s point guard problems. Instead, the former fifth overall pick has fizzled his way down to limited minutes off the bench. That is when he’s able to suit up and actually play.
Originally dubbed a floor general, Exum has had issues figuring out which guard spot suits him best. Despite his quickness off the dribble, the Aussie has struggled as a decision-maker with the ball in his hands. Weighing less than 200 pounds, he’s easily overpowered by bigger defenders who can bump him off his way and keep him out of the paint.
The two-guard spot isn’t a better solution either. Exum is no shot-creator and he certainly isn’t a floor spacer, shooting just 30.4 percent from downtown over the course of his disappointing career.
Exum has at times shown tremendous potential at the defensive end, where his physical traits are put to good use on a Jazz squad among the best in the league defensively. It’s the inconsistency on offense though, which makes it difficult for Utah to play him big minutes.
Unfortunately, injuries have played a large part in Exum’s NBA story. A torn ACL sidelined him for the entirety of his sophomore 2015-16 season. In the three years since, he’s missed a total of 124 games, or an average of 41.3 a season.
The Jazz showed faith in Exum by handing him a three-year $33 million contract extension this past summer, aided by his positive on-court plus/minus in each of his four seasons on the court. To reward the team, he would once again fall victim to injury, appearing in only 42 games.
Potential only means so much when there’s little possibility of it ever coming to fruition. Eventually, there has to come a point in time for Exum that involves a little more consistency and durability. If not, his NBA career may come to a close once his new contract expires.