Jazz fans attending the team’s draft party at EnergySolutions Arena on Thursday applauded the selection of Australia’s Dante Exum.
“I think it was a good pick,” said Travis Cloward of West Valley City. “I think they needed another point guard or two guard.”
Said Rob Harris of Farmington: “He has a significance chance to be a superstar because he is very fast, a good defender and moves very smoothly with the ball.”
Lowery Johnson of Kearns preached patience.
“Exum is young,” he said, “and it takes a while to transition to a higher-caliber game” like the NBA.
Mike Maples of Centerville hoped the Jazz would have moved up in the draft for Wiggins or Parker.
“This was the best we could we do considering we couldn’t move up,” he said. “It might take Exum a year to develop and for the Jazz to decide if they want Exum or [Trey] Burke to run the point.”
The Jazz used the No. 5 pick on Exum. Burke, who is also a point guard, was the No. 9 pick last year.
Two ESPN analysts liked the pick of Exum. So did Philadelphia coach Brett Brown, who knew him as a 15-year-old in Australia.
“... Dante Exum fits in Utah perfectly,” said ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla. “An outstanding character. A quality guy.”
As video of Exum rolled on the TV screen, Bill Simmons said, “He looks like an 18-year-old Kobe Bryant.”
Brown just finished his first season in Philadelphia. He is a former assistant at San Antonio who also coached in Australia.
In a Boston Globe article this week, Brown suggested Exum benefited from learning the game in Australia.
“His development basketball-wise was very broad,” Brown told the newspaper. “... I attribute it to a fantastic infrastructure in Australia. These kids are taught about nutrition and hydration and recovery — the importance of camaraderie, of teammateship. They understand the country isn’t going to beat anybody with talent. [But] they’re a bunch of street fighters. There’s a physical side of that nation that is very endearing. It’s rugby, it’s football, it’s a tough fighting nation, and he’s a byproduct of all of that.”
The Pac-12 enjoyed a big night, even though Utah did not have a player talen in the draft.
Six players from the conference were selected in the first round: Arizona’s Aaron Gordon (No. 4), UCLA’s Zach LaVine (No. 13), UCLA’s Jordan Adams (No. 22), Washington’s C.J. Wilcox (No. 28), Stanford’s Josh Huestis (No. 29) and UCLA’s Kyle Anderson (No. 30).