In the second of our series of reviews for December, today we take a look at Dante Exum went for the month.
December was an up and down month for Dante Exum. He started every game of the ten that he played in but only had four where he played more than 20 minutes. He missed the last five games of the month with knee tendinitis.
Due to the injury to George Hill, Exum was the preferred Jazz starter. His defence and turnover efficiency was more in line for the starting unit than that of Shelvin Mack. Well, for the most part anyway.
What Exum can take out of the month is that the Jazz were 7-3 when he started. That is a good thing. Unfortunately for Exum, most of the credit cannot go to him. He was a cog in the machine but he still needs more grease to be a quality NBA player.
What I noticed most about Exum was that he was trying too hard. He was going too fast for himself. This was causing him, and the team a few issues. Before the knee tendinitis struck, Exum was fouling too often. He had two games for the month where he had five fouls and three games where he collected four. He was also causing turnovers which I go into later.
I think that a lot of this is due to the ACL injury that he is returning from. Exum, possibly, is lacking confidence in the knee to do what he wants so as a result he is slower getting to where he needs to be on defence and he is also relying on reaching in too much, causing the officials to call him more often. If he keeps the high foul numbers, then he takes away the late game option of being used as Coach Quin Snyder will use someone who can go harder at the play as they are not worried about fouling out.
What Exum needs to do is rely a little more on his skill but if the problem is mental then maybe the time out at the end of the month will help him. The last game that he played against the Golden State Warriors for the month was appalling for Exum. It appeared that everything he touched turned bad. It was the second game in a row that he had three turnovers, plus the four-turnover game that he had at the start of the month.
However, enough on focusing exclusively on the negatives. Exum did have a mostly reasonable month when he could stay on the court.
In the ten games played, Exum averaged 21 minutes, 6.4 points1.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per games. His scoring was at a slash line of 42/36/90 which is actually quite decent. He did have a 1-of-11 game against the Warriors so this shows that the rest of the month, Exum had reasonable shot selection.
Exum scored in double figures three times, the most being an 11-point effort in the win against the Dallas Mavericks. He had back to back ten point efforts against the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers at the start of the month, helping the Jazz on a three-game win streak.
Exum is starting to understand his role as facilitator within this team. With Hayward, Hood, Hill, Mack, Johnson and now Ingles all showing amazing offensive ability, Exum needs to get the ball to these players when he is on the court. In December, Exum had a five assist night against the Warriors in the Joe Inglis shooting spectacular game and two games of three assists. If he can get these numbers up, Exum will have a greater January when he is able to get back onto the court.