Is it time for Danté Exum's NBA return?
After helping KK Partizan win the ABA League championship, Exum could become a prime offseason target for NBA teams.
When Danté Exum left the NBA in 2021, it was difficult to visualise a way back for him, at least in the short term.
The Melbourne native was initially drafted by the Utah Jazz in 2014, as a scrawny 19 year old kid with impressive length and speed to burn. Carrying all the potential in the world, Exum was expected to develop a jump shot in due time, as well as the passing vision of an NBA point guard. However, a string of injuries halted his development whenever he seemed poised to make a major leap. The former lottery pick played just 262 NBA games across seven seasons, and found himself at a crossroads as an unattached player in 2021.
Exum’s turning point arrived at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where he excelled as a two-way guard and helped Australia claim a historic bronze medal. That summer didn’t quite translate to an NBA recall, but Exum found a new home in Barcelona. He became a pillar of efficiency for the Spanish club - shooting over 50% from the field across 49 matches - but had to settle for just 18 minutes a game. Presumably seeking a larger role, Exum jumped ship to Partizan Belgrade, a club with a rich history but also a lack of recent silverware.
The biggest question around Exum has always been his health, and for NBA teams this will precede any consideration about his on-court abilities. As a fresh faced rookie he played all 82 games in the 2014-15 NBA season, and then 73 games in his second season (including playoffs), but has never logged more than 42 games in a season of basketball since.
However, a change of scenery has been the catalyst for a clean bill of health.
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