DraftExpress did a play-by-play breakdown of Dante Exum’s Austrailian Team against Team USA at the FIBA U-19 tournament. The video provided in the link shows Dante Exum‘s ball-handling ability, length, speed, quickness, and athleticism when it comes to dribble penetration. Not only did he face multiple great perimeter defenders from Team USA, but he also faced Marcus Smart. He also faced Rasheed Sulaimon and Elfrid Payton, two lengthy point guards with tremendous ability to pressure ball-handlers.
The link not only shows Dante Exum’s abilities in half-court situations, it also demonstrates Marcus Smart’s abilities on defense. As mentioned before, Marcus Smart has all five tools to be an elite NBA defender. He has the height, wingspan, strength, lateral quickness, and basketball IQ to frustrate opponents. Smart’s mental approach to defensive makes him seem like he’s attacking the offensive player within the guide-lines of the rule book. He’s not just another defender to fall back on his heels and get beaten on dribble penetration. He can intimidate the opposing team by his focus and defensive stance alone.
What stands out about Dante Exum is that the potential is there. He has the height, the length, the speed, and the ball-handling. He needs to work on things that most other rookies do. When other players played him physically, he was completely shut out of the play. He needs to build strength. It would help him bump defenders while he’s attacking off-the-dribble. It would also help him fight through screens at the NBA level. Still, Dante Exum showed very well against some of the NCAA’s elite, and it was done in just 11 minutes of total playing time. Turnovers were definitely a factor. Keep in mind, that Marcus Smart is the factor of those turnovers.
The potential is there. I would love to see that potential revealed in a Laker uniform.