NBA Draft Pick Fantasy Profiles — #5 Dante Exum

So far, I’ve given my thoughts on the top four picks in last week’s NBA Draft, which you can find here. But this is the profile I’ve been dreading. When the Utah Jazz selected Australia’s Dante Exum, the whole of Australia reacted with celebration. It was our highest drafted player in the NBA since Andrew Bogut went number one back in 2005, and with the interest in the NBA at a level not seen since the Jordan-era, the excitement was palpable. But unfortunately, excitement in Australia is not a recordable fantasy stat, so what lies ahead for Exum?

dante exumThis is why this is the profile I’ve been dreading writing. What will Exum be like? We have no idea. We have no stats to really base anything of, especially since he hasn’t played competitive basketball since December. He is a complete unknown for a fantasy perspective and all we have to go on are some YouTube videos and the words of anonymous scouts.

That makes evaluating Exum a nightmare, and probably while I’ll avoid drafting him unless he slips to the last round (he won’t).

Probably the best place to start looking at Exum is his performance in the FIBA Under-19 World Championship, played in 2013.

MIN PTS 3PM REB AST STL BLK FGA FG% FTA FT%
Dante Exum 30 18.2 1.9 3.6 3.8 1.7 0.1 13.4 44.6 7.1 60.9

It’s hard to know how this translates, but they are some pretty fine numbers, with only the shooting numbers being a concern. Ok, so that’s a start when looking at what Exum will produce.

The player Exum is most commonly compared to is Penny Hardaway. Hardaway could’ve been one of the greatest NBA players in history, so it’s a very high bar to be set. Let’s take a look at what Hardaway was able to do in his first season.

MIN PTS 3PM REB AST STL BLK FGA FG% FTA FT% Rank
Anfernee Hardaway 37 16.0 0.6 5.4 6.6 2.3 0.6 13.3 46.6 4.0 74.2 30

In anyone’s language, that is a superb debut season and to think Exum would be able to replicate that is an exercise in folly in my opinion. Still, it’s a starting point and if Exum can approximate even 80 percent of Hardaway’s ability and output, Utah will be over the moon.

The next thing to look at is the Jazz’s depth chart. In parenthesis are the minutes the player played last season

PG – Trey Burke (32)/Dante Exum
SG – Dante Exum/Alec Burks (28)
SF – Gordon Hayward (36)/Rodney Hood
PF – Derrick Favors (30)/Jeremy Evans (18)
C – Enes Kanter (27)/Rudy Gobert (10)

Utah is teeming with young, talented players and Exum just adds to that collection. He’ll most likely start in the backcourt along with Burke, sharing ball-handling responsibilities. Exum’s length will allow him to guard opposition two-guards, as well as finish at the rim in traffic. As you can see from the depth chart, there is scope for Exum to get in excess of 30 minutes a night, which I think he’ll achieve comfortably. In fact, I’d imagine Exum plays around 32 minutes a night in his first season, in line with what Burke played last season.

But what will he do in those minutes? Compounding the unknown of Exum, is that he is teamed with an unknown head coach — first-year man Quin Snyder. After playing around with the numbers, I think Exum will be able to put up a line like this.

MIN PTS 3PM REB AST STL BLK FGA FG% FTA FT%
Dante Exum 32 13.2 1.0 3.2 4.2 1.2 0.1 11.5 42.8 3.7 71.2

That’s a best guess and he could completely blow that out of the water. That sort of production would leave Exum around 150, so just at the end of 12 team leagues. If you’re drafting in Australia, I imagine Exum will go in the top 100 and even if you’re based in the States, he’ll go before pick 150 and with the poor shooting that is projected, I don’t think he’d be worth going that early.

Would I take a flyer in the last round? Absolutely! But don’t overpay for a shiny new toy.

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