It’s hard to compare new players to current players that have been in the league for a while. Kevin Pelton does a Schoene model for players and has Dante’s comp of 92.3 to Kyrie Irving. He says that 95 or above is a good match and anything below 90 is a stretch. So is Kyrie Irving what to expect out of the 6’6″ Australian point guard? Yes and no.
Dante should be compared to Kobe Bryant however coming into the NBA as they are very similar from their starting positions. This does not mean I expect Dante to be Kobe but more so to get an idea of his potential.
Dante is the same size as Kobe Bryant was coming into the NBA at 6’6″ and 192. Kobe strengths coming in according to ibiblio.com were his maturity and his finishing. Dante is a very mature guy and even though he is a year older than Kobe was when he was drafted he is still very young. Kobe was also considered a point guard or a player in between positions coming into the draft before he ultimately was considered a shooting guard in the league.
This was said about Kobe by scout Owen P O’Malley in 1996:
“Has been compared to Anfernee Hardaway, but some scouts feel he doesn’t have the ballhandling and shooting
skills to be an effective guard.”
Now read this by NBADraft.net about Dante Exum in 2014:
“NBA Comparison: Penny Hardaway… His handle is loose at times… An inconsistent, but improving, shooter. Shot tends to be flat and needs more arch …”
That is very broad and a lot of players get that report, however not every player is 6’6″ with a 6’9.5″ wingspan, didn’t go to college, hired the same agent and was considered a point guard.
There is no other Kobe Bryant and there won’t be another Kobe Bryant, but there will be a Dante Exum and we will have to see how far this kid can rise. The differences in the two games that I can see right now is Kobe was a lot more explosive at that age. Dante’s passing seems to be better at his age than Kobe was. Their shots were both in need of help however Kobe was farther along.
The year of practice and workouts Dante has had though has really helped his shot so he could be right where Kobe was at age 18. Again Dante is not Kobe, that pressure doesn’t need to be on him, but he does have the likeness of the Black Mamba.