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Dante Exum vs Marcus Smart

druneave3
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Dante Exum vs Marcus Smart

I have only seen highlights of Exum, but I find it hard to believe that he will be taken ahead of Smart, like several sites currently predict. I am absolutely in love with Smart, especially after watching his big night against Memphis last week, and with his improved outside shot.

Can someone who is more familiar with Exum please tell me more about him. Is it merely based on potential? Or perhaps anyone who has a thought on this matchup of the first two guards that will most likely be taken in 2014. I saw one GM said he would take Exum first overall.


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I've seen him live

a few times over the past 2 years. I don't have a huge sample size to draw from, but here goes. At Adidas Nations a few years ago he flat out dominated. Exum generated tons of gasps from the crowd on both occassions that I've seen him. He is unbelievably quick, especially with his first step, and surprisingly strong for his wiry frame. He is a far better handler than I expected him to be and uses a lightning fast crossover to get space. He has a weird looking shot where he puts his entire hand behind the ball rather than underneath it, but he makes it more than he probably should. That is his biggest weakness right now, I think. He has very long arms and should be a lock-down defender in the future. Remember, Smart is a Soph with a mans body. Exum is still 18 and wiry-strong, with a body that he try to mold after Westbrook. He has game, but I think GMs think he has more of the dreaded 'upside' word than Smart does. GMs might think that Smart is a known commodity and that if he fits their system they will take him. If they are projecting to the future they might take Exum ahead.

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Why Exum might be taken before Smart

Think that both look like absolute winners. Marcus Smart is someone whose attitude is absolutely contagious, he is built like a tank and his outside shot has definitely improved. The reason I think Exum could be taken ahead of Smart is mostly due to potential, just not unwarranted potential. At the Hoop Summit, Exum was an impressive leader as well. His first step is extremely explosive and he has a rare ability to penetrate the defense.

The speed advantage definitely seems to be in Exum's advantage and I know actual NBA scouts that feel he may have Penny Hardaway type upside. Some even thought he had the most upside of any prospect in the game, just thought he had it all. Good basketball IQ, can play and defend either guard spot. Truthfully, you can say the same thing about Smart, though I believe that Exum is also taller (he is a legit 6-6, saw that in person) and has solid length.

With Exum, his outside shot is still rather inconsistent. However, if he were playing college basketball he would be living at the foul line right now. Seems to have a great work ethic and the speed along with his size is just special. That extra quickness might put him ahead of Smart. If you check out the last video I posted on Exum's profile, it appears he will NOT be headed to college (watch what his dad, Cecil, says). Love Marcus Smart and think he gives you a great deal of versatility, just also think Exum does the same thing and the upside is quite real. Think they both translate to combo guards that could be major environment changers. Exum is more of a risk, just one that could pay off big time and has major offensive upside, more so than even Smart.

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Agreed

To me, this is similar to the Wiggins v. Parker/Randle debates everyone seems to be having. In this case Smart, like Parker or Randle, is more NBA ready than Exum/Wiggins. If a GM wants a guy to step right in and produce, they will make the Smart/ Parker-Randle choice. If, however, they want to shoot for the stars...

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Very similar

Definitely see the similarities. What I will add is that I think at the very least, Wiggins is definitely ready to contribute in the NBA right away as well. He may not be as ready as Randle or Parker, just do not think the separation is huge. You are taking a slight leap of faith in hoping they improve their skill set to the level of the more polished players, just not a major one.

My opinion with Wiggins is that while he may not be rookie of the year, he could definitely be the best player in season 2 or 3. Think the NBA will fuel his competitive fire and that GM's with the first pick do indeed have an ability to build a team. If you think Jabari or Julius are going to be flat out better players in 3-4 years, you take them. Definitely think Wiggins could be and the separation will not be huge in year 1-2, by 3-4, he could be a major match-up issue on both sides of the floor, more so than the either Parker or Randle.

I believe Exum is a bit further away than Wiggins, though I might not be saying this if he were actually playing college basketball. Think much like Marcus Smart was saying about Wiggins earlier, you want to see them prove it (in Wiggins case at the college level). I am sure people would love to see Exum go up against top notch competition.

Also know there are people willing to take the risk at this point and feel like they have seen enough to take a chance on taking Exum over Smart. As much as their are dangers in choosing potential, the qualities in potential sometimes give you major advantages down the line in the NBA. For all of those people (not saying you Chris, just know it is a common saying) who say choosing production over potential is the way to go in the draft, it definitely works both ways. There is so much more risk in projecting how a player slightly younger will develop compared to an older, more seasoned player. The reason we are having this discussion is because it does happen and you can sometimes build around these players.

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Though he is a sophomore

Though he is a sophomore Marcus Smart is only 15 months older than Exum. I've never seen Exum play so like the majority of people on this site I have nothing to add to him, but Smart is so impressive not only in his numbers but his intangibles that it's hard to put sight unseen ahead of him.

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Penny

I was a HUGE Penny Hardaway fan growing up and just seeing Exum's highlights makes me excited for his potential. I can definitely see the comparisons, although Exum isn't quite as skilled, he has the frame to put on some muscle. I hope the team who takes Exum is smart enough to keep him at point guard where he belongs. Exum over Smart if I'm the gm.

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Honest question here

I understand this will be a silly question coming off his last game and such, but why do most seem to think Smart will be a great player?

I'm not saying Smart won't be that player or that Exum will be, but I just haven't seen enough from Smart consistently to think that he's going to be "good" at the next level let alone "great". Was just wondering if I could get people to try to convince me otherwise.

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If you don't think that he's

If you don't think that he's going to be good based on defense and ethic maybe you should watch him play.

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Love his defense

I love the way he gets after the ball and the way people gush about him is admirable, but I can't get over his stats. If he was projected as a 2 guard, I'd probably feel better about him; at the point though? I just don't like it.

Also, I've watched plenty of his games which is why I'm confused as to how I'm getting a different read compared to everyone else.

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I'm in the same boat. His

I'm in the same boat. His skills for the PG position still don't look like anything special. His decision making leaves a lot to be desired too. I'm still skeptical about his ability to play the PG position full-time in the NBA.

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Yeah, I have the same qualms

I could deal with the fact he couldn't shoot, if his court vision developed as much over the offseason as it was rumored to be. I could deal with his lack of vision, if he showed that he could consistently score the ball.

Right now though, he has a lack of vision and a lack of consistency in his scoring, which I think won't bode well for him. Maybe he'll prove me wrong as the season unfolds though.

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Guess you didn't watch that Memphis game

He sure didn't have a problem scoring in that one, in a variety of ways. I think his decision making and outside shot are also much improved in my mind. I am also not completely sure about his being a full time PG, however I think he has good, if not ideal, size and ability to guard the 2. 6-4, 220, he really competes on defense.

If you pair him with a quick, smaller guard, he can definitely handle PG duties and it could cause match-up issues. Either way, his attitude and toughness are top notch, think he could very well be a culture changer and he seems to have improved in my eyes. Guessing he will continue to show that as the season progresses.

He has his good and bad games, however I have seen flashes of his being able to succeed at either guard spot at the next level. Work ethic definitely seems to be there and while he may never be a knockdown shooter, he has improved a great deal over the off-season. Just had to watch the Memphis game to see that, think the consistency will translate into Big 12 play. Definitely can't sag off of him as much, plus he is still a very physical defender.

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One game does not a player

One game does not a player make. He came into that game shooting like 30% from 3 and was on fire. I don't think that game was an example of his shooting prowess. He made quite a few bad shots as well, taking and making a bunch of heat checks.

I like him much more as a SG prospect or at least paired up with another combo guard who has better breakdown ability/decision making.

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It was an important game, though

I thought it at least showed some of the improvements. I would have him as a combo as well, though I think he can provide interesting scenarios at the guard spot. Still think that he is a good passer and I think he is indeed going to be making better decisions this year. It is a good sign of things to come, at the very least. I know it is just one game, still think it shows some positive signs of how he could maybe translate at the next level.

Think his playing with a combo guard is a good idea, just also think he can make plays as well, plus I do believe he is a much more confident shooter, which should do wonders for his percentages and efficiency. Work was put in on his body and his shot, both good signs for a guy who played at a very high level as a freshman and turned a team around.

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Can someone explain the

Can someone explain the Penny/Exum comparison? I don't see it at all outside of both having skinny, long, lanky frames. Their styles are nothing alike.

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I don't know much about Exum

I don't know much about Exum other than what I have read but how about comparing a rookie this year to Penny Hardaway....MCW has looked Penny like to me in his first handful of games. I was not high on him coming out of Syracuse for several reason's most of which were his inconsistency shooting and turnover issues. It is early but he seems vastly improved in both areas.

You kept hearing Livingston comparisons for MCW coming into the year but I didn't see any Penny comparisons. After a month in the league he looks like he might have that kind of upside. I don't know about being 1st team All-NBA multiple times but has surpassed my expectations so far.

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Do you really think an 18 year old Anfernee Hardaway.....

Had a style that was "nothing alike" to Dante Exum? I mean, looking at his HS highlights, you can maybe see some similarities:

Bear in mind, in Exum's highlights he is going up against some big time ballers in his age group and he definitely stood out. I know eventually Penny developed into a deadly post-up player and it seems like Exum may never be a rebounder like Penny was, but given talent around him he should make a lot of plays. Most of the time when he has played with Australia, he is the flat out star. Maybe Penny might have been a bit more of a playmaker, just think that the way they move and their frames are similar.

Comparisons are a difficult way to classify players and I think Penny is indeed a very generous comparison for any PG out there. However, what would be a better one for Exum's style of play? Plus, can comparisons not sometimes be about similar body types or statistical potential. If you want to breakdown how their styles differ vastly, would love to hear it, just think saying that their styles are "nothing alike" leaves me scratching my head as opposed to shaking it in agreement.

Yes, an 18 year old Dante Exum is not incredibly like a NBA Penny Hardaway. However, do not think their style of play or frame differs vastly at the same point in development. Penny was 20 his first year in college and I am guessing around 18 in the video. Said to be 170 pounds, whereas Dante was weighed in at 188 at the Hoop Summit. Dante can bring the ball up the floor, use either hand and has an incredible ability to get into the lane. He obviously has work to do to become Penny Hardaway, just don't know why the comparison is written off due to a supposed difference in style.

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No, I don't see it all.

No, I don't see it all. Penny was a much more skilled, head up playmaker. He had a nasty handle, ability to anticipate plays and deft footwork. He made the game look super easy because of how skilled and smart he was. He made a seamless transition to the point because he saw the game as a point. He basically WAS a PG, not just a scoring guard who liked to play on the ball. The difference in playmaking alone makes the comparison moot. Exum is more of a head down slasher with drive and kick ability and a dynamite first step. I see him as more of a Sprewell type.

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Could see that

I mean, definitely does not have incredible court vision at this point, is best off the drive and dish. Not a bad comparison. You have great breakdowns man, just wish you would originally go into this detail and suggest your vision rather than just making statements. You definitely know your stuff as to how you view players at the next level, honestly just like you going into details rather than giving broad statements of disagreement. Think it is obvious you love this stuff and are very good at it, really appreciate more when you give more content rather than just discontent (in the most sincere way possible).

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Agreed. Penny was primarily a

Agreed. Penny was primarily a playmaker, while Exum looks like a slasher who can create for others. It's not like they're nothing alike, though. They're somewhat similar, but the comparison is not precisely the best one could come up with (talking about style of play... not ceiling).

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Penny

Was way more athletic to -speed aside his bounce was top tier also.(bigger too) Limited size but I have seen that sought of explosiveness from Exum

Smart might not be the most gifted in the vision department compared with some other guards but he strong enough with the ball to run a system even if he ends up with Hockey assist. I think he will also be able to penetrate pretty well in the NBA when the spacing is more available and hes not the defensive focal point. In the day of the 'entitled athlete' I think Smart gets alot of extra 'points' for his mentally and defensive relentless.

Also hes ability to play and especially defend the 2 position also adds to his appeal.

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It's the same reason some GMs

It's the same reason some GMs will want Wiggins over Parker.

Athletic potential is something everyone is enamored with.

mikeyvthedon
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So, guess you would have taken......
Emeka Okafor instead of Dwight Howard? I have seen your combat against choosing guys with potential, but can I ask you, does it NEVER pay-off? Plus, when it does, can it not make things hugely regrettable? Emeka is not a bad player, but he has been to the play-offs once in 10 seasons. Once! As much as I think Dwight is a d-bag, clearly he was the right guy to take #1, even if people gave Okafor a case as being more seasoned.
Now, some other regrettable moves passing on "more proven" players over guys who maybe had "more potential":
  • 2004: Josh Childress over Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala
  • 2005: Channing Frye and Ike Diogu over Andrew Bynum
  • 2006: A lot of guys ahead of Rajon Rondo
  • 2007: Corey Brewer over Thaddeus Young
  • 2008: OJ Mayo over Russell Westbrook (though people may have felt OJ had more potential at the time)
  • 2009: Johnny Flynn, the ultimate "look at that 5 OT game" production guy (though I know he had injuries, point is, Jrue Holiday did not produce much as a freshman, went way too low in the draft)
  • 2010: Gordon Heyward over Paul George (Heyward led his team to the conference finals, Paul George couldn't get Fresno St. into the tournament)
  • 2011: Jan Vesely over Kawhi Leonard. Rumors the Wizards were enamored with Leonard, go for the player who had professional experience, went to the Euroleague Final Four (and produced)
  • 2012: Thomas Robinson over Andre Drummond. Very early to call, but lets face it, Drummond looks like a stud, did not have a spectacular freshman season. Robinson produced, led his team to the NCAA Finals, still struggling to find an identity. Wasn't this also a case where one had a much better motor than the other? At the NBA level, that point is moot.

Yes, some of the players I mentioned are still good players. No, I did not predict all of these players were going to be better than the players they were picked behind, hindsight is absolutely 20/20. What I am trying to point out is that there is no one way to look at the draft. Gordon Heyward is a very good player and he was indeed picked behind worse players as well (Al-Farouq Aminu, Ekpe Udoh, Wesley Johnson being a few). However, Paul George has turned into a franchise cornerstone. That is why if you believe a player could possibly develop into one of those, than you take a chance.

Jabari Parker looks like a fantastic player, his skill set is excellent and he is an advanced shooter. However, if Andrew Wiggins does turn the corner, can he maybe not take his team further? You believe the answer to be no, other people see maybe a scenario where you can build up a team around in a fashion similar to the top wing players on contending teams. Wiggins defensive potential is vast and he has a skill set to go along with the athleticism that has gotten him the acclaim you seem to disagree with. Exum as well. Thoughts on this matter could definitely change, just know that there is no one way to draft players and disregarding athletic potential does not always leave you with the best player. It works both ways, just think that claiming one way over the other in all regards does not necessarily make it right in every case.

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Greg Oden over Kevin

Greg Oden over Kevin Durant?

Sebastian Telfair over anybody?

Patrick O'Bryant?

Brandon Wright?

Marvin Williams over CP3?

C'mon man, people have struck out on potential all the time.

I have no problem with Exum over Smart, but that is because I think Exum is good. Good players tend to get better.

I look at the never ending Parker/Wiggins debate, and I guess the thought it with Wiggins athletic ability if he puts it together he could be scary. And I agree. And I agree he can defend.

But Parker already has a great isolation game. He's already polished. His improvements will be substantial as well, just because he isn't as athletic doesn't mean he doesn't dunk on people, and certainly doesn't mean he can't continue to improve going forward.

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I said it works both ways, man

Guess there are more glorious burn outs from potential picks, you have that. All in all, you want the best player and that can come from both, just sometimes it does indeed come from guys with greater potential. For a guy who was ragging on Chad Ford for making a statement about Wiggins, "Good players tend to get better", is just not really mind expanding analysis.

Would be nice if you stated your feelings about these players as opposed to just once again going off on potential. You at least gave reasons for why you like Parker more than Wiggins (though I do think the "he only gets dunks and lay-ups" thing is not necessarily completely accurate). I was saying it happens both ways though and I perceived you as saying that these "potential" guys were not on the level as the "production" guys.

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Since the first game of the

Since the first game of the year has Wiggins hit any jumpshots? Because he is getting a hell of a lot of his points on easy hoops.

I don't think athletic ability completely correlates to being a superior offensive player. It helps on defense, for sure. But offensively, I will take a skilled guy with some athletic ability over a more athletic player who doesn't have the skill. Parker and Wiggins both will get better and better. No Parker will never be one of the best athletes in the NBA, but right now I'm not even sure what Wiggins will look like as a go to player. Not saying that is his fault, its just the truth.

mikeyvthedon
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Made a pretty nice step back in that Duke game

That was indeed, the second game of the season:

The funny thing about "easy hoops" is that you in fact have to either create or be in the right place for those opportunities. As much as you may skeptical about Andrew Wiggins ability, I do not think you can be unsure he will be getting at least some of those "easy hoops" at the next level. I do not know how closely you have been watching him, just does it look like that jump shot is broken? Does it look like he is really lacking skill or has absolutely no ability to penetrate the defense and get to the foul line?

I went back and saw your major beef with what Chad Ford said about the "more than meets the eye" thing. Well, if there is not much more to prove basketball superiority than better statistics, would the guy with the highest PER or best stats get chosen every year? He has played 4 games, his team has won 4 games. The one game they needed him to step up thus far, he scored 22 points in 25 minutes. He hit a beautiful jumper, a move that will indeed translate. It is only one shot, but look further into the numbers.

He is averaging less than a turnover a game. Jabari is averaging 2.5 and Randle is at 3.7. He is shooting 58.5% from the field and has made 4-10 threes (therefore making 64.5% of his 2-pointers) while shooting 75% from the line. Jabari is completely out of his mind from 3 at 60.8% (14-23), but we knew he was a better shooter. He also has the ability to play the 4, a position he can eat alive at the college level, especially on the perimeter. He is at 58% FG, though 56.9% from inside the arc. Not a huge difference, just something that may be saying how they translate with getting "easy buckets". Julius is at 56.3%, and I have to say, guessing he has scored fewer long jumpers than Andrew Wiggins.

Unfortunately do not have Synergy access right now, just do not think that Wiggins is simply scoring "easy buckets" and saying so kind of devalues his having the skill level and playing the smart style of basketball I have seen. I missed him against Towson, though in his previous three games, have seen a lot of good things when he is on the attack. Jabari and Julius are more seasoned, though I do not think that means they are far more skilled. Maybe more aggressive, definitely have more weight to their benefit against college competition. Still, do not think Wiggins is as monumentally behind either as some are saying and he has done just fine so far.

When Andrew Wiggins is aggressive, I think he has been quite dominant at times. His posting up against Duke worked hugely to Kansas' advantage and seemed to draw major focus from the defense. This really opened the floor for Kansas in thus far the only game they have been challenged. He does have the benefit of a better frontcourt than Jabari's at Duke, though that also could be a reason he has only taken 10 shots in a game once so far (the 15 against Duke).

Derrick Rose averaged 14.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 4.7 apg in his freshman season. Michael Beasley averaged 26.4 ppg and 12.4 rpg, while OJ Mayo put up 20.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 3.3 apg. Derrick Rose obviously was playing on a better team. Julius and Jabari are also on better teams than either Beasley or Mayo were, plus are in my mind better prospects than either as well. Just pointing out that stats in college basketball do not determine everything.

Not to mention, Derrick Rose had a similar advantage in quickness and agility at the point that Andrew Wiggins has on the wing. His jumper was a work in progress and obviously he had better ball skills, just do not buy Wiggins "not having the skill". His shot is not bad at all and I do believe he can put the ball on the floor, plus when he done so he has got to the line at a nice rate. Here is another shot he hit against Iona I remember:

Notice how he moved with the driver to get a perfect opening. That is seeing the court and making an opportunity for yourself. He may not have had to do as much as Jabari, plus Jabari has done more and can do more with the ball at this point in time. I just do not see this devoid lack of skill nor a complete lack of hope as a jump shooter. I think that will develop and he will be very difficult to cover in isolations due to his speed.

He has been a primary scorer before and his team has done quite well. Plus, he and Perry Ellis are indeed tied as KU's scoring leaders. Do not think he will struggle as a primary scorer, he has done quite well as one in other situations. I am cool with you thinking Parker is the better player or prospect, just do not think your rationale necessarily paints the perfect picture of the player Wiggins is right now, nor can become.

For everything you think Chad Ford is lacking in his description, you are not really giving me much about what Andrew Wiggins actually does during the course of a game or the skills he does possess. How he gets the "easy hoops" and the rate he can do so, special athletes and physical specimens can seem to do that at a higher level. I believe he is one of those, plus has more to his game than just that.

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I definitely think Wiggins

I definitely think Wiggins "could" be better. But I feel like the odds of him making strides in every part of his game and Parker just slowly improving to a halt is just unrealistic. Both players will get better. Wiggins hasn't really shown he can put the ball on the ground and drive. That would scare me if I thought this was a franchise wing.

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