Header Ads

Utah Summer League begins with high expectations for Dante Exum

SALT LAKE CITY -- NBA summer league rosters are typically composed of rookies getting their first taste of the league or players trying to catch the eye of an organization.

Utah's Dante Exum doesn't quite fit either category.

Dante Exum.
The Jazz guard was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 draft and will be running a summer league team -- again. No other lottery pick from 2014 or 2015 currently is on an Orlando or Utah Summer League roster. But Exum finds himself in the unusual position of trying to attain a more secure place in the 2017-18 Jazz rotation.

"He's not the young guy anymore," Utah Jazz Summer League coach Alex Jensen said. "It's time. You've got to stand out.

"I don't think it's any one thing. When you watch the game, he can't blend in. You're too talented and too good to blend in, because a lot of guys are in their first and second year."

San Antonio, Boston, Philadelphia and Utah begin play in Salt Lake City on Monday; play started Saturday in the eight-team Orlando Summer League.

Exum said he wasn't planning to play summer league after the season ended, but the team would like to see more from him going into his fourth year. Time could be running out for the 21-year-old as the Jazz continue to try to upgrade their roster and build on last season's return to the playoffs.

One area of particular focus is point guard. Utah traded into the lottery to draft guard Donovan Mitchell and took Nigel Williams-Goss in the second round. The Jazz also traded for Ricky Rubio over the weekend.

Exum was moved to off guard down the stretch of the season and averaged 6.2 points, 1.7 assists and 2.0 rebounds and shot 42.7 percent from the field. His career progression stalled when he missed all of 2015-16 with a torn ACL. He said he's focused on working on his jumper, midrange game, 3-point shot, driving to the basket and facilitating the offense.

The Jazz are hoping to re-sign Gordon Hayward, add depth to the roster and become even more of a threat in the Western Conference after earning the No. 5 playoff seed in 2017. That means the clock is ticking for Exum, who needs to show he's more than just athletically gifted in a 6-foot-6 frame.

"One of the biggest things for me is I just want to play," Exum said. "It was an emphasis this summer just to get out and play."

Source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19797724/utah-jazz-want-dante-exum-stand-summer-league

No comments

Powered by Blogger.