Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum has not played this season, but the 22-year-old will soon have a chance to prove himself once again.
The 6-foot-6 guard is expected to earn between 15 and 20 minutes per night. When Exum is playing alongside rookie Donovan Mitchell and forward Joe Ingles, he will likely not be tasked as the primary ballhandler. His best skill that we have seen so far is his cutting, which could help Utah on offense as they fight for a postseason spot.
Only two teams in the Western Conference have cut to the basket more often (8.1 percent) than the Jazz. It’s one of their most-used offensive play types and as a team, their efficiency ranks in the 62nd percentile around the league.
They also ran cutters often last season for Gordon Hayward, who ranked No. 4 overall (behind Cleveland’s LeBron James and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo) in points per possession among players who had at least 100 possessions.
Exum has always played very well near the rim. As a rookie, the point guard was shooting 44-of-67 (65.7 percent) on field goal attempts within five feet of the basket. Only five guards in the NBA with as many opportunities were more accurate that season.
This is an area where Exum has excelled during his two professional seasons in the NBA. But he has not been given a tremendous amount of opportunity to show this for the Jazz.
Exum has averaged 1.35 points per possession on cutters since entering the league. He is shooting a remarkable 24-of-34 (70.6 percent) when cutting to the basket. For comparison, Golden State’s Stephen Curry is 35-of-51 (68.6 percent) on this play type this season — which ranks in the 68th percentile.
He can score off the screen, too, but is just an average spot-up shooter. His most impressive trait so far has been his ability to cut to the basket and this should be utilized during his return.