Jan 28 2014

Draft Profile: Rest ‘Em For Exum?

There are still scouts and GMs who swear he’s the best prospect in the draft. Period.”  – Chad Ford


Sam Forencich/Getty Images











Scouting Report

Name: Dante Exum
Position: PG/SG
Height: 6-6                                                                                                                                                                             Wingspan: 6-9.25                                                                                                                                                                     Weight: 188 lbs.                                                                                                                                                                         Born: July 13, 1995 (Age: 18)                                                                                                                                               School: Australian Institute of Sport


Chad Ford, ESPN

Exum can play both guard positions and has the ideal blend of athleticism and skill. He is very quick with the ball and gets to the rim almost effortlessly. His jump shot is still a work in progress — the primary weakness in his game. If he were playing in the U.S., he would be a contender for the No. 1 overall pick.

Exum’s a big guard and a natural floor general with incredible court vision. Case in point: this spin through a double-team and subsequent one-handed pass from the U17 World Championships in 2012.

exum-spin_4754772_GIFSoup.com (1)

As Ford mentioned, he also takes advantage of his great length and takes it inside effortlessly and often. The combination of his lightning quick first step and his superior size helps him get to the rim (and the line) with ease. In addition, his overall quickness separates him on the perimeter and he gets lots of room up top. Defenders sleep on him and his reportedly dicey outside game. If he improves his jumper, look out.



Per Ford, Exum declared for the 2014 NBA Draft and hired Rob Pelinka as his agent. So, barring a last minute mid-June withdrawal, the Aussie phenom is all-in. Ford said in recent chats that the Sixers are high on Exum, but he’s not sure how exactly they rate the Australian combo-guard. Based on what he’s hearing, Wiggins and Parker are 1-2 on the Sixers’ draft board and the rest is unclear.

Exum’s a natural point guard with a skill set not all that different from MCW’s, so it’s not a particularly ideal fit, or so it looks that way at the moment. He might need to play point guard to maximize his strengths — penetrating, driving and kicking, handling the ball, etc.

That doesn’t mean the MCW-Exum duo couldn’t work. Exum has played off-ball a bit in Australia and his performance alongside German point guard Dennis Schroeder during the 2013 Nike Hoops Summit suggests he’s capable as a two. He’s listed as a PG/SG, and is more than capable of playing off the ball. exum-dunk_4952169_GIFSoup.com

Not to mention, an MCW-Exum pairing could make for scary good defensive backcourt. Oh man, that wingspan – Exum, like MCW, is magnificent at utilizing his length to disrupt passing lanes and grab steals. That alone could be enough for the Sixers and Brett Brown — a former coach in Australia who also conveniently has a relationship with Exum’s family — to bite.

  • robbybonfire23

    He’s 18? This organization didn’t have the guts to draft Lower Merion’s abundantly-talented 18-year old in the late 90’s, and it cost them at least one NBA title. Different era, different people in charge now, but has anyone around here learned a lesson the hard way? I would take this kid Exum over the Wiggins’ and Parkers’ of the world, any day.

    • Guest

      the sixers are nowhere near the point yet where they can not draft someone because of fit….if they feel exum is clearly the best player avaiable when they pick then you pull the trigger…everything will work itself out down the road

      • robbybonfire23

        Right-on with that observation. Let’s hope the team sees it the same way. We lost out on drafting Kobe because of the opposite, short-term expedient approach of management, at that time.

        • Wesley Share

          Couldn’t agree more. That’s been my stance on the “they shouldn’t draft Embiid because he doesn’t fit with Nerlens” talk.

          Robby, I think that’s a bit of a harsh evaluation of the ’96 draft, considering the team came away with a 19 year-old who turned out to be one of the best scorers ever. 8 teams passed on Kobe and one team traded him, there was a lot of skepticism there. But I do agree that the player with the most upside should be taken.

          Taking Exum over Wiggins and Parker could be dicey since not many scouts/GMs have seen him play live nor are there any advanced metrics available on him. It’d be high-risk, and considering he hired Pelinka (Waiters’ agent), I’m not sure how much teams will be seeing of him in the pre-draft workout phase.

          • robbybonfire23

            Yes, drafting Exum would be swinging for the fences and hitting that grand slam or striking out. Much like the Lakers hitting a home run with Kobe, when we lacked the guts, and the patience, which is really all it was, to do that. How anyone in his right mind could want A.I. over Kobe is mind-boggling, except A.I. was 22 and Kobe was 18, and we were in a hurry to “make the playoffs,” while the Lakers were in no hurry to win more NBA titles.

            I am not an Iverson fan, simply because he took far too many shots for a career 42 per cent shooter, understanding his high point totals and averages mesmerize so many (and his career assist log is also mediocre). The best shooting guards of all-time are in the high 40 per cent bracket, not in the pedestrian low 40’s.

            Given his FG percentage liability, he should have been dishing off to higher percentage shooting forwards, wherein he could have been much more help to the team cause of winning.

            Mediocre shooting percentage guards, I must admit, really turn me off to where it frustrates me that their coaches lack the guts or the brains to cut back their role in the offensive scheme, in the interest of cohesiveness and team success. I think less of Wiggins and Parker than most, so that, to me, given the chance, you take a shot with Exum, and don’t get hurt that badly if you are wrong, there, if I am right about Wiggins and Parker not becoming anything special in the NBA. Exum could be special, Embiid will be special. God help us if we pass on either one of them.

          • Greg

            Right on with that. I hope they take Embiid. Don’t want Parker or Randle even a little bit…

          • Wesley Share

            Robby, Iverson was actually still 20 at the time I believe, and 90% of GMs probably would have gone with AI over Kobe at the time. They were wrong long-term, but don’t fault them at all. They went with the safer pick. It’d potentially be like drafting Parker over Wiggins this June.

            Greg, I agree on Randle and wouldn’t touch him in the top 5-7. But you’re wrong on Parker. He’s got Melo potential scoring wise without the attitude and coach killing liability.

          • robbybonfire23

            Wesley, let’s hope for our sake that Parker doesn’t fall to us, if you are correct about his having Carmelo Anthony potential. Anthony shows a career 45 1/2 percent shooting percentage from the floor, to go with mediocre floor game stats. We should ferret out a higher upside potential player than that.

          • Wesley Share

            Didn’t say he’d be a replica. He just has the ability to score at a ‘Melo rate, especially from outside, and similarly seems to be suited better as a four.

          • robbybonfire23

            I really don’t get why taking a swinish number of shots in a game, and over the course of a season, and missing so many of them that your FG percentage success rate ranges from mediocre to embarrassing, is somehow commendable and helps your team? I really don’t get it, any more than I would understand a punch and judy baseball hitter hitting .250 and amassing 200 hits, would be more highly rated than a .325 hitter with power but “merely” amassing 175 hits? In basketball it’s the same thing. Your FG percentage IS your batting average. Why so many focus on quantity, rather than quality is a mystery to me?

          • Wesley Share

            I’m actually a big ‘Melo hater as well and I think he’s possibly the worst player to have ever carried the “superstar” label. But all I meant was that Jabari could score well. Not disagreeing with you on Melo being overrated, haha.

          • robbybonfire23

            Thanks, Wesley. I will climb on board re Jabari, when he pulls his conference FG% to at least 45%, which is going to be difficult to do now, considering that he is languishing at 34%, eight games into the conference schedule.

          • robbybonfire23

            Wesley, subject to checking, it is my recollection that A.I. was 22 and Kobe was 18, at the time of that infamous draft. And how it hurts that our back-yard young man in suburban Philadelphia got heisted by the Lakers. What a nightmare that we didn’t even know what we would have had in Kobe, with all the first-hand evidence at our disposal.

            I attended Lower Merion High School, by the way, and grew up in Ardmore, so I am extremely proud of Kobe’s career accomplishments.

          • Sean Brock

            First off on your Iverson comments, when did Iverson ever have anyone TO pass to that was a high percentage scorer. Korver, that’s pretty much it and Korver is a 3 point shooter only. Iverson did shoot too much and had a low FG% but he was still great

            On you point on Kobe, there’s no guarantee that without one of, if not the greatest coach of all time coaching him up and pretty much always being surrounded by talent that he would have been as great as he was. Kobe might not have had a great FG% if he was playing with guys like Eric Snow instead of Shaq.

          • robbybonfire23

            Your two points are well-taken, Sean. Just as as general rule, and this really applies to low percentage outside shooting guards, I think (and it may be just me), that their first option should be to get the ball to a forward/center with better shooting percentage position inside the perimeter, understanding that your teammates may also be below league par, in that regard.

            The complication here is the dis-proportionate reward of three points to players hitting jump shots from just beyond the arc. What this has done is turned what used to be the challenge of all teams playing a team-oriented game of trying to crack the D for the highest percentage angle shots, into a gunner’s circus. So that, whereas, before the advent of the three point shot, mediocre-shooting guys like A.I. (a paltry 42 per cent for his career) would have had to have been more disciplined in their shot selection from outside, or wind up on the bench. Plus they would have to have “taken it to the hoop” more often, serving to raise their career shooting percentage figure.

            The introduction of the 3-point shot ruined the game, from an aesthetics standpoint. Today’s game is so trashy and undisciplined I can hardly stand to watch it, in fact.

          • robbybonfire23

            Thanks Greg. As you might imagine, some days I feel like a minority of one, here. lol.

          • Charlie Ace

            how can you say his assist numbers were mediocre when you seem to be aware that he was not a point guard? In his one season as a point, ’96 – ’97, he averaged 7.5. His career average? 6.2 (Kobe’s assist average is 4.8 playing the same position.) The notion that Iverson was a poor passer is completely wrong. I’m not claiming he was better than Kobe, only that picking him was not a mistake and saying that his skills were “mediocre” is preposterous. If anything, his skills were better than Kobe’s – best ballhandler in the game, excellent jump shot, without peer driving to the basket. I don’t think there was a single team that would have taken Kobe with the first pick.

          • robbybonfire23

            Charlie –
            You make a good point re the assists total difference between being a point guard and a shot guard. This is why I combine and tabulate, in my own stats, both assists and DR’s, understanding that forwards and centers will amass more DR’s than assists, and guards will amass more assists than DR’s. This can be objectively done because there is not much regression value difference between a DR and an assist.

            Where SG’s fit into this mix is an interesting question, as it seems to be something of a hybrid position – they total fewer DR’s than forwards and fewer assists than PG’s. So, yes, I will cut Carmelo and others considerable slack in this regard. But shooting percentage deficiencies, such as exhibited by Carmelo and A.I., well, I just have to take them to the woodshed for their low proficiency and their gluttonous appetite to be the whole show, out there on the floor. We used to call players of that description “ball hogs” and “showboat,” but I guess being so graphic and stinging in one’s criticism is beyond P.C. protocol, now.

          • ken

            if we have the chance to draft embiid we do it because his potential and allaround skill is already higher than noel then what we do is trade the pelicans pick and noel to a team to move up in the draft to get a guy like vonleh or hopefully exum

          • robbybonfire23

            Thank you, Ken, for having the guts to rank Embiid higher than Noel, who is practically a “God” to so many people’s thinking, but who is a work in progress. Embiid brings the full package to the game, including a power-body than does not need “bulking up.”

            Imagine what he will be when he is actually mature, physically in his late 20’s? The hope around here should be that Embiid and Exum are both available, so that this team can have the happy dilemma of which one to take?

            I lean toward Embiid, but taking Exum would reap the added benefit of his taking scoring pressure off MCW, which MCW is handling poorly, to date in his career. Embiid or Exum would be a nice dilemma to have, but you and I know they rate below Wiggins and Parker on the team’s mock draft board, no matter how well they play, and no matter how far below pre-season expectations Wiggins and Parker play. Such consternation!

  • robbybonfire23

    Taking a look at the lowest picture, above, you have to like Exum’s move, completely losing his defender, to get into position to receive the pass and shoot over the pick. This is some of the most creative lateral movement I can recall seeing on a basketball court, he really puts his defender into the popcorn machine.