Dante Exum secures NBA draft
Australian teenager Dante Exum is the number five pick in the coveted 2014 NBA Draft and joins fellow rookies Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker as the next big basketball stars.PT0M0S 620 349
The Utah Jazz will give Australian teenager Dante Exum time to develop and mature at NBA level.
The 18-year-old Victorian was chosen by the Jazz with the fifth pick in the NBA Draft on Friday and will fly out to his new home in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Australian time.
Exum will be handed the standard two-year rookie contract worth about $4 million per season and, according to the Jazz's Twitter account, he will wear the No.11 singlet.
All that Jazz: Dante Exum shakes the hand of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in New York. Photo: Getty Images
Exum's entry means Australia should have a record five players in the NBA next season.
The Jazz are deep into a "youth movement", with the majority of last season's roster filled with players with four years or less NBA experience as the Jazz finished with a 25-57 record, the worst in the Western Conference.
The club also drafted Duke University forward Rodney Hood with pick 23, so will bring two rookies onto its roster.
Exum expressed surprise when he fell to pick five after many expected Orlando Magic to take him at four, but the Jazz have followed Exum closely since they watched him star at the Nike Hoops Summit two years ago.
"It’s an unbelievable experience to be drafted and know where I'm going to live," Exum said. "I'm just a kid from Melbourne, Australia, who is looking to come into a program and work hard.
"I'm here for a reason, I'm ready to get a job done and I'm here to win."
Exum did not do a physical work-out for the Jazz but his humble, assured responses impressed the team during his interview.
Exum will use his early months in Utah to get up to NBA speed while being at a smaller club could help him develop without pressure.
"It does work to my advantage a little bit," Exum said. "Who knows how long it's going to take me to get accustomed to the NBA game?
"It could be a day, it could be a year, or it could be two.
"So being a bit hidden from the hype of a Los Angeles, Miami or New York, it does help a bit but I'm going in day one to try my hardest and make an impression."
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey told Utah media he would not expect too much from Exum immediately and the guard would face a huge test when matched with NBA veterans.
"He is in store for an NBA introduction on how quick, how fast, how violent NBA basketball will be," Lindsey said.
"But we are confident in time and, with his work ethic, he will be a good player."
The Jazz have not confirmed if Exum will play on their NBA summer league team, which plays its first game in Las Vegas on July 12, with Lindsey saying new Jazz coach Quin Snyder would make that decision.
Lindsey said Exum's "handsome face" would win fans across Utah but he would battle for game time with Jazz point guards Trey Burke and Alec Burks.
"Dante has the speed to play guard and the size and length to play wing," Lindsey said. "We will let nature take its course to see how much he plays but he is coming in behind two very good guards in Burke and Burks."
Exum reiterated his commitment to Australia's FIBA World Cup campaign in Spain in August and September while his Boomers teammate Cameron Bairstow was also selected by the Chicago Bulls with pick 49.
Bairstow will get a chance to try out for the Bulls but does not receive a guaranteed contract.