Right about now, the Los Angeles Lakers are cursing the Cleveland Cavaliers after they won the NBA Draft Lottery despite having just a 1.7percent chance of doing so.
That means they will get to have the first pick in this year’s star studded pool of prospects while the Lakers, who had a 6.3percent chance at the top spot, will have the seventh pick - barring any major trades of course.
Nevertheless, they may still end up with a great young prospect come June 26th.
Just like every other team in the NBA, L.A would have loved to get a top three pick and select one of the “sure-things” in this draft – Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid. Then again that was always going to be a long shot at best. As such the general consensus was that they would pursue Dante Exum, the 18-year old point guard out of Australia.
Otherwise known as “The Mystery Man” of this NBA Draft, Exum is relatively unknown compared to the other top prospects. He played his basketball in his homeland and hasn’t received quite the same exposure his peers have through playing in the NCAA.
Teams haven’t been able to see him go up against high calibre competition on a consistent basis therefore they haven’t been able to completely dissect his game and that is something he is aware of:
“[NBA scouts] have seen some of the college guys play 40-game seasons," Exum said at the NBA's Draft Combine. "They haven't seen me a lot. So I guess when they are trying to look at tape they can't see a lot of tape on me."
So with that said, you would think his stock would plummet, right? Guess again.
The Aussie teenager is firmly rooted into the second tier behind the 'big three' thanks to his excellent physical gifts aptitude for the game. At 6’6”, he will have the size advantage against pretty much every point guard in the NBA but he is more than just a big bodied one.
Exum is lightning quick, with a tight handle and a respectable scoring arsenal. He will be a nightmare for opposing players due to his incredible 6’9” wingspan and impressive athleticism which will help him blanket the crafty point guards in the Association.
The most impressive thing though is that he gets it. He has a high basketball IQ and understands his role. He knows he can take over a game with his scoring ability but knows his position is all about making others those around him better.
"I'm a get-to-the-rim type of player," Exum said. "I beat my man off the dribble and try to draw help to find different players. I guess that's what puts me in good position to be a point guard and also be that kind of vocal leader, to have that voice that tells players what needs to be done and be that voice for the coach."
That is music to any NBA General Manager’s ears and is something that will no doubt grab Mitch Kupchak’s attention. Problem is he likely won’t fall to that far. The Orlando Magic at number four could settle for Exum if the big fish are off the table by the time they make their pick. However there is still room for optimism for the purple and gold.
Rumors have begun to circulate that Exum is angling for move to L.A having spent his time there practicing since February. He also shares the same agent as Kobe Bryant and has described the Lakers as the “best option” for him. Besides, it’s not like it would be the first time a young prospect forced his way to the Los Angeles Lakers.
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