Dante Exum playing summer ball with Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul
During last year’s playoffs, Utah Jazz combo guard Dante Exum showed glimpses of his potential as a key cog for the young team. Exum is looking to build upon that performance by working out with premier point guards Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul this offseason, per Fansided’s Ryan Aston.
“Much to the delight of Utah Jazz fans, footage of Donovan Mitchell and Royce O’Neale putting in work with the likes of James Harden and Chris Paul hit the ‘net earlier this month. Unquestionably, there’s something to be gained any time Utah’s up-and-coming guys can share the court with the league’s elite.”
“However, Mitchell and O’Neale aren’t the only ones balling with the stars. Dante Exum has been doing the same. Most recently, he joined CP3, Ben Simmons, 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and others for sessions at UCLA.”
Exum’s brilliant performance as a backup point guard and defensive stopper in the playoffs last season earned him a hefty three-year, $33 million contract from the Jazz this summer. Hansen James of SB Nation pegged the 23-year old Australian as the Jazz X-factor this season.
In all seriousness, Dante Exum is the wildcard for this Jazz team. How well Exum does will tell us whether this Jazz team becomes really good, great or a championship contender.
That’s what is exciting about Exum. He’s never had a chance to really flourish. His rookie year was hampered with the tentativeness of replacing Trey Burke in the lineup. The next season ended with serious injury. The following year he had to sit on the bench to make Goron Clayward happy. And last season he missed most of the season because of another season ending injury.
This season is going to be a lot of fun for a lot of reasons, but one of them will be seeing Dante Exum finally have a full season of confident play without restrictions.
Exum will be an intriguing development for a young Jazz team aiming to be a serious contender in a stacked Western Conference.