2013 FIBA U-19 Championships Stats (9 Games):
45% from the field
33% from three
61% from the free-throw line
Weight: 196. Height w/ shoes: 6'6". Wingspan: 6'9.5". Max Vert: 34.5
*All measurements come from last month’s NBA Draft Combine.
In one of the deepest drafts in recent history, among the discussion for the top picks has been Dante Exum. He's the "mystery man" of the draft, mainly because no one has seen him play anywhere near as extensively as the other draft prospects. The last collection of statistical data of his performances are from the 2013 FIBA U-19 Championships, when he played at just 17 years old. Based on what we do know (with the aid of various tapes and his impressive measurements), Exum may just end up as the best player in this draft.
The first thing that stands out about Dante Exum is his amazing physical profile. Standing at 6 feet 6 inches with a huge 6-foot-9 wingspan, Exum is set to be an immediate match-up nightmare for all opposing point guards, both offensively and defensively. He should have no trouble playing the shooting guard position too, so he will be a useful combo guard for teams that may want to switch him to play off-ball at times. He is quite athletic too. Exum posted the second fastest lane agility drill time in the NBA Draft Combine, and his maximum vertical leap of 34.5 inches is only a couple of inches below high-flyer Russell Westbrook.
On the court, Exum plays in full attack mode. Exum has compared himself to players like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, two of the most explosive finishers likely in NBA history at the point guard position. His size and length gives him an extra advantage when finishing at the rim that most point guards don't have, and he has a great first step to go with his blazing speed. He constantly seeks to get to the rim, and as a result, lives on the free throw line, often getting opposing bigs into foul trouble. His 61% conversion rate at the line in the FIBA U-19 Championships is very underwhelming, but Exum has almost certainly improved since. Those results were from a small sample size a year ago, and he went 12 of 13 from the line in one of those games during the tournament.
Exum is also great distributor who can see over the defense because of his height. He plays very unselfishly, and he is just as likely to drop off a pass to a big or kick it out to shooters when penetrating as he is to finish. He possesses good handles with which he can create offense for himself and teammates in various ways. His relatively low 3.8 assists per game at the FIBA U-19 Championships doesn't reflect his true passing ability. That was mainly due to him being the first option on offense and being relied upon to carry a lot of the scoring burden for Australia.
Exum has huge potential on the defensive end because of his physical attributes and his lateral quickness. He has the foot speed to cope with the quickest of guards, and he can also match the tallest of guards with his height. He is also a great rebounder for his position on both ends. However, the biggest question mark hanging over his game is his shooting ability. Although he has had plenty of time to improve, when he last played competitive basketball, his shot mechanics were not perfect, and he struggled hitting outside shots efficiently. During workouts, teams will ultimately get a good look at him, but it seems adapting to NBA range will be a hard transition for Exum. If he can't efficiently hit outside shots in the NBA, opposing teams will quickly take advantage.
Exum is also very lean for his height, having weighed in at just 196 pounds. That lack of strength will be an issue, and he will need to bulk up over the years by adding some muscle in the weight room. He has shown issues finishing through contact, and he can get pushed around on defense. His decision-making at times isn't great, which is essential for point guards. He can take bad shots, whether they're low-percentage ones or just unnecessary ones in certain situations, and he can be turnover-prone. His point guard skills and decision-making will need to be brushed up on in order for him to excel on the NBA level, where the point guard position is the deepest in terms of talent.
In spite of this, one of the most remarkable things about Exum is that he is one of the youngest players in the draft at 18 years old, and he only turns 19 weeks after the NBA Draft. He has as high a ceiling as any other prospect.