Summer League Recap: Dante Exum dazzles in debut

He’s the best Australian since Steve Irwin.

The most awesome Down Under export since Australian Toaster Biscuits.

Dante ExumI’ve only seen him play once, and it’s only Summer League, but there’s no doubt–the hype is warranted. Utah Jazz rookie point guard Dante Exum is legit.

Exum was outstanding in his Summer League debut, bounding up and down the floor like a 19-year old (which he is), sprinting back on D almost as if to show off his 19-year old endurance level, and throwing it down like a Slam Dunk champ.

He only put up 10 points and dished out 3 assists, but almost all of them were awesome.

Exum’s game is characterized by a youthful swagger and confidence that make him both fun to watch and difficult to guard. He’s quick as hell, has an innovative handle and a killer crossover.

Perhaps most impressive was his willingness to pass–he plays the game that way, and it’s rare in the league today.

Exum isn’t a great shooter, but he’s always on the move–constantly driving and dishing, trying to find the open man.

At a lanky 6-4, the No. 5 pick in the draft has got plenty of size for an NBA point guard. Sometimes he even looks bigger than that.

There was one moment, when Trey Burke lobbed an alley-oop toward the basket and Exum leaped into the air to throw it down, when I actually thought he was Rudy Gobert. His bounce was so effortless that it looked like he barely had to jump to get above the rim.

Exum and Burke have the chance to be an excellent backcourt tandem, as both have an elite handle and decision-making ability, and both look to push the ball at any opportunity.

Their size and differing skill sets almost make them reminiscent of Mark Jackson and Travis Best–the Pacers’ dynamic backcourt duo in the late 90’s and early ’00s.

Exum’s presence takes a lot of pressure off of Burke to handle the ball, which automatically makes him more effective. Dante is an opportunistic and energetic defender as well, which will allow the diminutive Burke (he’s listed at 6-0) to hide more on defense.

For the pair to be successful, Burke’s jump shot has got to be more consistent. But if one of the two can become a reliable three-point threat, the Jazz are in good hands.

Yes, it’s only one game–and it’s only Summer League, but crikey! This Exum kid can play.

Wish we could’ve said the same about Andrew Bogut.

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