NBA Draft 2014 Scouting Profile: Dante Exum

Stefan Postles

Our series of draft profiles continues with Australian combo-guard Dante Exum, a likely top-five selection come June 26th.

Dante Exum

NBA Position: PG/SG

General Information: 18 year old from Melbourne, Australia.

Measurables: 6'6, 196 lbs, 6'9.25 wingspan, 8'7 standing reach

2013 FIBA U19 World Championship Stats: 18.2 PPG, 3.8 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 44.6% FG, 33.3% 3P, 60.9% FT

Summary: Like any international prospect who didn't attend a United States college, it's harder to scout Exum than normal collegiate players. Most of what there is to watch on Exum is from last Summer's FIBA U19 World Championship and from the 2013 Nike Hoops Summit. He will enter this already exciting draft as one of the bigger question marks.

That said, it's easy to get excited about Exum and his long term NBA potential even without much film. His combination of size, length and speed make him a true outlier for the point guard position, and while there are slight concerns about his passing instincts and shooting, there's nothing that should keep Exum from securing a top five spot in this draft. I would not put him at the level of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid, but don't be shocked if he ends up stealing a top three draft slot.

Offensive Breakdown:

Exum is a crafty scorer who loves getting to the basket-all of the game tape on Exum shows that more than anything else. He can muscle past smaller guards or blow by bigger ones, and he's got great upper body control to maneuver as he gets to the basket.

The best part about his driving game is he isn't afraid of contact; in last summer's FIBA U19 World Championships, Exum averaged a very high 7.2 fouls drawn per game. He also likes to post up smaller guards when possible, creating nightmare matchups, but he'll need to bulk up to face stronger NBA point guards.

As a shooter, Exum is solid but still needs work. He shot 33.3% from three in the FIBA U19 Championships, and as the tournament went on he started taking too many (in his final contest against Lithuania, he was 2/10).  Also a concern was his free-throw shooting; an below-average 60.9%. Still, given his age and general scoring instincts, nothing in his offensive game is overly concerning. When he gains consistent range out to the three point line, he could become a scoring star.

Exum is a true combo guard. His first instinct is to create for himself, but it isn't to a concerning level. He's more than a capable passer, and he actively looks for his teammates. He averaged 5.1 assists per 40 minutes at the FIBA U19 Championships, and showed solid court awareness. More concerning was his 2.3 turnover average in 29 minutes; he may be crafty and quick, but he'll need to learn to reign himself in a bit against better NBA defenders.

The biggest misconception for Exum is his total vertical athleticism. He's not the most explosive player, and he measured a solid-if-unspectacular 34.5 inch max vertical leap at the combine. For comparison numbers only, those are similar results to Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner.

Where Exum is explosive is in his speed - his 3.19 three quarter sprint test and his 10.75 lane agility test were near the tops of the class. In his limited tape, you can see his two biggest weapons are his size and his speed-he's excellent at using both to get past defenders. Exum would come into the NBA as a very solid shooting guard, but as a point guard he's got fantastic measurements.

Defensive Breakdown:

On defense, Exum's length, size and speed are again his best weapons. Nothing on his tape shows a lazy defender, and his solid basketball IQ helps him stay on top of the defense most of the time. He averaged a very nice 1.7 steals a contest in the FIBA U19s, thanks to his quick instincts and long arms.  Exum is also an above average rebounder for his size on both ends of the court, due to his long arms and size advantages, and shows good awareness off the glass.

Defensively is where his lack of strength will become a concern, and he'll need to bulk up or face many stronger SGs ready to post him up. It'll likely take him a few years to grow into his NBA body, and my guess is it'll take a bit longer for Exum to get comfortable defensively than offensively. Still, there are no serious concerns other than his strength, and certainly nothing that will knock him out of a top selection.

Intangibles: There's isn't anything out there on Exum that should concern fans or scouts from an off-the-court perspective. He's a hard-worker who seems like he worked hard to fit in with the Australian team. He's got good court awareness and excellent basketball IQ for his age.

Here is an excellent article on Exum from SB Nation's Paul Flannery that breaks down Exum on a bit more personal level.

Fit with Sacramento:

Exum would be a great fit for the Kings with or without Isaiah Thomas. A guard lineup of Thomas and Exum could play alongside each other and provide two capable passers and two capable scorers. Exum's length and speed could help when Isaiah's height becomes a problem defensively. Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders quoted Exum as saying many teams that interviewed him asked how he'd play alongside another PG; I'd be shocked if the Kings weren't one of those teams.

If the Kings got Exum and Thomas departed, an Exum/McLemore lineup would give the Kings ridiculous upside for the future. Neither would provide a lock-down defender immediately, and Michael Malone might want an additional ball-handler in the lineup when possible, but the offensive potential between the two would be insane.

Understandably, the "combo guard" label might concern some Kings fans. Exum is a score-first player, and there were times from the footage where I wish he'd passed more. That said, he isn't a ball hog and does look to keep his teammates involved. With Malone preaching a full-team unselfish approach, Exum wouldn't constrict the offense any more than it already is.

The downside to Exum is that the chances of the Kings landing him is minimal without significantly trading up. He seems destined for a top four/five selection. At No. 8, the Kings would almost certainly need to figure out some way to move up.

If you'd like to watch some game footage of Exum, check out these two videos from last season's FIBA U19 Championships. Here is his best game of the tournament against Spain and here is some of his worst game against the USA team.

DraftExpress Scouting Video:

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