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What were they saying about Dante Exum before he was drafted by the Jazz?

June 30, 2014
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According to Craig Bolerjack, he was told by Randy Rigby and members of the Jazz front office on draft night that they thought Aaron Gordon would be sitting in their lap (#UDQM) and that they did not expect Dante Exum to still be on the board at five.

David Locke, meanwhile, was asked on the day of the draft who he’d pick if it came down to Noah Vonleh and Exum at five. His response:

“Well, it won’t. Dante E—I have been told by numerous people there’s just no scenario that Dante Exum gets to the Jazz at five…There’s really no, I mean, huge stunner, huge stunner, from all the inside people I talk to, if Dante Exum’s on the board at five.”

Given that no one thought Exum would fall to the Jazz, I thought it’d be fun to see what LHM media members were saying about Exum before he became a Jazzman.

What is something the listeners have to know today in preparation for the draft?
Locke: I thought the only newsworthy thing…Dante Exum informed me that he didn’t work out for the J—he met with the Jazz in Chicago. He didn’t work out for them because of the fact that he thought that Utah, he and his agent thought Utah was a bad situation for him with Trey Burke having already been drafted there.

On which player had the biggest “aura” during pre-draft interviews
Locke, day before the draft: Jabari [Parker], actually, now that I think about it, really didn’t today. [Andrew] Wiggins might’ve had it a little more than he did. And [Aaron] Gordon actually might’ve had it as much as anyone.

Locke, day of the draft: [Aaron Gordon] had the biggest aura about him of any athlete I talked to yesterday in that draft room…I didn’t feel that out of Jabari or Andrew yesterday, but I would say Aaron Gordon was probably the closest to having that of anyone in the group. I really like him an awful lot, and I hope he’s there at five, and I hope we take him.

Locke, day after the draft: That [aura] did not exist as much with Wiggins and Jabari. More Wiggins than Jabari…But both Exum and Gordon owned the moment more than anyone else in those interviews. I thought Gordon particularly, but I think Exum as well.

On the scouting report on Exum
Locke: [Exum] is 6-6, lightning fast. Talked to a guy today who loves him, knows what he’s talking about, loves him but says it’s gonna take awhile. I mean, it, probably not gonna add a win to your ledger next year. You all right with taking that?

Is Exum a point guard?
Locke: He is, every game he’s ever played in his entire life has been at point guard. Now, it’s Australian high school, but…

1280: He’s not a point guard in the NBA.

Locke: He thinks he is…[Like Noah Vonleh,] Aaron Gordon thinks he’s a three too, but he’s been smart enough to go through this draft process and say, “I’ll play whatever position you want me to play.”

Who are the guys projected to be drafted in the top eight or nine that will make us think “That team blew it” when they are drafted? Who are the two or three guys that will be busts?
Locke: I think Doug McDermott would, might bust. I think Dario Saric might bust. … I think Dante Exum has gotta be on the list.

Is Dante Exum a foreign Nikoloz Tskitishvili or a foreign Dirk Nowitzki?
Locke: There are not a lot of 6-6 point guards in the NBA. I get nervous when guys are outside of their regular realm and if he’s not a very good point guard, then he’s a terrible shooting guard. But people love him.

Two out of every five top five picks do not become NBA starters
Locke: Top five picks, from 1997 to 2010, 17 [percent] become an all-pro…Another 17 percent become all-stars. So, that’s 34 percent become all-stars. And 29 percent become starters, so that becomes, 63 percent become starters. So the top five picks, 63 percent are starters. Well, that’s three out of five. So two of these top five picks, on average, do not become starters in the NBA…So, to me, that is Dante Exum and Joel Embiid.

Would the Jazz draft Marcus Smart?
This doesn’t have anything to do with Exum, but is being included because Exum also declined to work out for the Jazz.
Bolerjack: [When] he’s turned down twice for a workout? I don’t [think so]…The agent’s kinda making a stand, saying, “Look, Marcus doesn’t really have interest. Pass him over so he can go to Los Angeles and bask in the sunlight of Los–of L.A.”

So again, what does that tell me, if I’m going to sit down and judge personality, which I do on part of my draft process, then right now I’ve got a negative feel for Marcus Smart. If that’s the what, if that’s the way he’s gonna approach me and start his career, by not allowing us to, you know, work him out, then that’s a huge red flag on my part.

If, in these players’ positions, they oughta be chomping at the bit. Who cares where they’re playing? They have an opportunity of a lifetime…You get an opportunity, you take it. You’re in no position, in my opinion, to say “No thanks” for a workout…

What you don’t need is a pouter. What you don’t need is disruption in the locker room. This team’s young enough. That, this pick, I think, has to bring it mentally. And if you have any fear that he’s not on board with your plan, then I think maybe you have to give him his way, because how many guys do you see in this league that sit and pout?

Other notes:
** Boler on the Derrick Favors and the fifth pick to Cleveland for the first pick trade talk (summarized):
The big take is that [Favors and Enes Kanter] cannot survive and play together. At one point, the Jazz were 1-24 when Kanter started. The Jazz have probably gotten to the point where they’re saying no, it’s not gonna work. Therefore, both of those players being named in trade rumors gives Boler belief that the experiment is over.

This is not a knock on Tyrone Corbin, but could they play together for a new coaching staff and in a new system?

Quin Snyder was a point guard at Duke, so you’d think he’ll be a more offensively-minded coach. Also, good coaches vary their systems to fit the strengths of their players. He is working in tandem with Dennis Lindsey on the future direction of the franchise.

** Boler is sick of hearing Salt Lake City referred to as a small market, and dubs it a mid-market.

** Locke’s response to 1280 question, “Why do you like Evan Fournier? Who the heck is he?”:
He’s a French player. Played in Denver. He’s actually kind of Dante Exum-esque, actually, except for he can shoot it. Not as quick.

** Boler believes the Jazz will match any offer sheet Gordon Hayward may get and the number won’t be as lofty as some may fear based on the season Hayward had last year.

** Per Boler, KJZZ will televise three of the Jazz’s summer league games.

** Locke on the maturity of 18-year-olds Vonleh and Gordon:
Vonleh seemed much younger than Aaron Gordon, and you know, frankly, without being rude to Enes, we’ve done this game before with a young 18-year-old. I’m not sure we need to do it again.

** Locke on the Jazz trading the 35th pick (summarized):
People unhappy that the Jazz gave up No. 35 for a 2016 second round pick should “shut up.” …Response to the “six people” unhappy about the transaction that “in this day and age they get a voice, which is our failure as media members to react to them,” is “The guys running these things are not idiots.” Furthermore, the Jazz were so fortunate to get the two draft picks they got that the third one was just irrelevancy.

** Locke on the 76ers’ draft:
I hope they never win another game…I think we have a responsibility, even if maybe you’re in a rebuild process, to put out quality every night. That’s a joke. They really drafted two players that aren’t gonna play? It’s beyond me. It’s bad for the game.

** Boler on the Marvin Williams to Miami rumors:
I’ve heard that as well. But I also heard that, I’m not sure, he may wait to see what LeBron [James] is thinking. But I do know that, and he told me straight up, he’d love to come back. Randy Foye told me that, but you know what happened there. He decided to, well, he did move on.* And there’s players that, DeMarre Carroll, but now he’s in Atlanta. But a lot of players, I think, find out that they like it here in Utah once they land in Salt Lake City, and it’s not as bad as people sometimes make it out to be.

* What happened there was that the Jazz traded Foye. Foye in December: “To be honest with you, I thought I still was gonna be there [after last season]…Me and my family really enjoyed [living in Utah], and I wanted to be there for awhile, but things didn’t work out that way.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2014 11:10 pm

    “People unhappy that the Jazz gave up No. 35 for a 2016 second round pick should “shut up.” …Response to the “six people” unhappy about the transaction that “in this day and age they get a voice, which is our failure as media members to react to them,” is “The guys running these things are not idiots.” Furthermore, the Jazz were so fortunate to get the two draft picks they got that the third one was just irrelevancy.”

    The arrogance of this guy is astounding. He doesn’t even try to explain it, and to discuss a #35 pick as an irrelevancy, particularly in this draft, by an organization that has excelled with much lower picks in much worse drafts, is just terrible/lazy reporting on his part. Fortunately, the Jazz have Ron Boone and Thurl Bailey on the payroll during games, so David Locke’s just irrelevancy.

    • gotag permalink
      July 1, 2014 9:36 am

      For me the #35 pick would be like a football game where there are 2 minutes left, your team is up by 4 touchdowns, it’s 3rd down and your team decides to punt. Yeah it’s not going to cost you the game or realistically improve your odds of doing anything, but it’s just somewhat weird.


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