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Aussies in NBA: Dante Exum's ready to be a true point guard
Another Summer League game, another win. The Utah Jazz took another victory today, this time against the Philadelphia 76ers, 100-94.
The game got close late in the fourth behind a Philadelphia comeback, but the Jazz were in control for most of the game. Utah's backcourt duo of Dante Exum and Donovan Mitchell stayed the course, and managed to put the game away.
Exum recorded a double-double with 26 points, 5 rebounds and 10 assists over 29 minutes, and showed off his blossoming offensive game once again. He was 3 of 5 from the three-point line, and looked comfortable in his game.
What stood out in this game outside of the scoring, were the ten assists Exum had. He was also showing his off explosiveness all night, and got to the rim at will.
That in turn, also allowed him to find teammates for easy shots.
Dennis Lindsey on Exum's commitment and growth
Dennis Lindsey was very complimentary of Exum, when interviewed.
"It's great that Dante, first and foremost made a commitment to come out here and get better, and play," Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey shared. "And that's what we've been stressing. 'Dante, take contact, play.'
"He's been at LA with Baron Davis, he's been here at Davis, he's been over at Salt Lake Community College playing. He's becoming a hoops junkie.
"We all know about the size and speed and you guys can see the skills, the ones that were rustier are coming back, and [Exum is] developing a new one."
It's obvious that Exum has gained confidence in his play, and is making plays that we haven't seen him make on a consistent basis previously.
When asked about whether Exum seemed to have gotten some "grit" in his game, Lindsey pointed to the path Exum's had so far, and his youth.
"Well, he's one year removed from an ACL [injury], and that's a big deal. But the tools, the intelligence, those are obvious. We got to remember too, he's 21. He's the age of a lot of these guys that are just drafted or a little bit younger.
"We all want it now, want it immediately, Dante included, [but] it's a process. This is a man's league, this is a tough league, so when you enter the NBA, it's a process for most young guys and we're getting here, we're getting really excited about Dante."
Exum on working with Baron Davis
After the game, Exum talked about his off-season work with Baron Davis, and revealed it was coach Quin Snyder who connected them.
"He's been great for me this summer. I haven't been around him too much, we only spent about two weeks together.
"He's been great, just talking me through everything, be it on the court, off the court, what he did."
When asked about similarities in style between himself and Davis, Exum had this to say.
"Definitely that point guard game. I think, the way he's able to get into the paint and find guys. I played a couple of pickup games with him. I said to him after I played. I said,'Baron, you weren't even looking at me and I was open. I knew the ball was coming to me.'
"That's something I definitely want to develop, where if a guy's open on the court, they know that ball's coming to them."
Under Baron Davis' tutelage, Exum's point guard game is visibly improving. If Exum's improved this much in two weeks of study, an entire summer's worth of hard work could reap massive benefits for the Jazz.
Dante Exum full highlights vs 76ers
Jonah Bolden played 26 minutes and took 9 shots tonight, including 5 attempts from downtown. Despite another offensive shooting drought, Bolden ended the game with 5 points. He had another impressive energetic performance especially on defence, recording 3 steals, 3 blocks, 4 rebounds and an assist.
Jonah Bolden full highlights vs Jazz
Mitch Creek started the game along with Dante Exum. He played 14 minutes, recording one steal, one field goal attempt and a personal foul for the night.