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Report: As expected, Australian Dante Exum likely to declare for draft

Jan 13, 2014, 3:01 PM EDT

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Fans in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Utah and a host of other cities are keeping a close eye this season on the guys on top of everyone’s draft board — Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid at Kansas, Jabari Parker at Duke, Julius Randle at Kentucky.

But one guy they can’t watch is Dante Exum, who is playing in Australia. has Exum — a 6’6” combo guard who maybe could play a little three depending on the system — as the No. 5 prospect.

And you can expect him to come out, a number of agents told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Australian Dante Exum has completed meetings with eight powerhouse player representation agencies and left them a strong impression that he plans to enter the June NBA draft, sources told Yahoo Sports.

I would be shocked if he doesn’t enter the draft,” one agent who recently met with Exum’s family told Yahoo Sports. “He knows he’s a lottery pick, and knows several teams have him very high on their boards. His family knows that this is an opportunity that may not come again.”

Another agent who traveled to Australia told Yahoo: “This is a bright, thoughtful kid – a great family – and they’re taking their time to think all this through. But in the end, I didn’t sense anything that would hold him back from [the draft]. … I can’t imagine him not coming out.”

In theory he could go to college for a year to gain some seasoning, but if you are a top five pick why would you take that risk? Besides, as much as the college people hate to admit this, you develop your game better in the NBA — no limits on practices, better coaching (in general), better competition to push you.

Exum is a big guard who can handle the rock, create for himself and others, can work in the post or on the wing, and looks like he could work in a number of systems. He’s not a great defender right now but there is a lot of potential on that end of the floor. He needs to improve his shot, but that is something teams feel they can work on — you can’t teach athleticism and great court vision, you can teach shooting form.

Exum is going to come and he’s going to go high — and in an NBA where ball-handling guards are at a premium he could make one team very happy.

  1. timberwolvesbrisin - Jan 13, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    “? Besides, as much as the college people hate to admit this, you develop your game better in the NBA ”

    Disagree, most guys who aren’t ready flame out in the NBA. While many players benefit greatly by staying in college.

    • dinofrank60 - Jan 13, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      Exhibit #1: Shabazz Muhammad

    • aboogy123456 - Jan 13, 2014 at 9:20 PM

      When the competition is tough, players tend to rely on their strengths rather than work on their weaknesses during game action. For example, a guy like Marcus Smart had a weak jumpshot last year but since he’s so much better than everybody, he could work on his jumpshots during games and still dominate. Now he’s improved his jumpshot a lot, but if he came to the NBA early he might not have had the confidence to shoot during games.

      The author has a point but I think it really depends on the specific player. Basketball is all about confidence, so for many young guys, staying in school is about working on their weaknesses during games and building confidence. For guys like Kobe who have all the confidence in the world, they can go to the NBA early and still develop.

  2. timberwolvesbrisin - Jan 13, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    ” Besides, as much as the college people hate to admit this, you develop your game better in the NBA ”

    Disagree, most guys who aren’t ready flame out in the NBA. While many players benefit greatly by staying in college.

  3. misremembered72 - Jan 13, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    Is this guy capable of being a shooting guard? I think most of what Ive heard about him is that he’s a natural point guard.

  4. saint1997 - Jan 13, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    I met this guy last year at a party (a mates brother is at the AIS with him) and he’s such a nice down to earth dude. Tells a very funny story about Victor Oladipo from one of his visits to Indiana. I know Americans probably don’t feel this but for an Australian there is a great sense of pride for me seeing another Aussie to root for, gives a fun sense of patriotism

  5. cltcsfan33 - Jan 13, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    @timberwolves guy I thought the exact same thing. It’s kind of a proven track record that guys who stay do better in the long run. Tyler hansborough and nick collison both have had wonderful careers and should continue to do so

    • jpmatubaran - Jan 13, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      and there’s that Tim Duncan guy!

    • savvybynature - Jan 13, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Yeah Collison and Hansborough have done OK. Not quite as good as Lebron and Kobe though, who didn’t go to college at all.
      I think it depends on the player. To say that one path is proven to be better than the other is nonsense.

  6. mrtreyseven - Jan 13, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    you have Andrew Bogut isnt he from Australia and a former no. 1 pick.

  7. borisalessandri - Jan 13, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    Joel Embiid is overhyped! If he wants to be good he better stay all 4 years and try to polish his game. It’s too raw right now. If he comes out early, he’ll get eaten up. Most lottery teams do not develop their talent well.

  8. aboogy123456 - Jan 13, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    Watch the scouting video on this kid, he has star potential. What I like most about him is that he has 6’9 wingspan with incredible lateral quickness, which suggests that he will be a great point guard defender. Guys like that are rare, and he also plays like someone who understands the game very well and is ready to contribute now. I would love the lakers to land him, but he’s going to be a top 5 pick. They could use a great point guard for that offense, and someone who can guard the best wing player so kobe doesn’t have to anymore.

  9. pukpokito - Jan 14, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    A Batum? Maybe a Shaun Levingston? James Jones? Or is he a Penny Hardaway or even the next Brian Shaw? He is the most intriguing player in the draft as teams have him as high as 4 and as low as 9. If I was drafting a foreign player, I would want the intangibles and tenacity of Ginobili.

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