With the fifth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz selected Dante Exum who, most experts thought, wouldn’t be on the board when the Jazz selected. When he did fall to five, a lot of Jazz fans got excited.
Earlier in the year, a lot of experts claimed that if Exum had played college basketball in the United States, that he would be in the conversation for the number one overall pick. That being said, he still was somewhat in the conversation because the Cleveland Cavaliers, who owned that top pick, were calling Exum’s agent and was trying to get him in for a workout the day before the draft.
Due to his size and speed, most people believe that he can be a really special player. It will take some time, due to him only being 18 years old, but he will eventually get there.
So how does he rank compared to the other rookies heading into the 2014-15 season? The guys over at NBA.com put together their rookie ladder, and Exum was in the top 10, but not as high as one would think.
Rookie Ladder Rankings according to NBA.com
1. Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks
2. Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
3. Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers
4. Elfrid Payton, Orlando Magic
5. Andrew Wiggins, Cleveland Cavaliers
6. Doug McDermott, Chicago Bulls
7. Dante Exum, Utah Jazz
8. P.J. Hairston, Charlotte Hornets
9. Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
10. Nik Stauskas, Sacramento Kings
The best way to win the Rookie of the Year, is to first be the best player. However, even more so, it is the best player in the best situation. Parker is the most NBA ready player and is being put in the best situation, where his team will rely on him more than any other rookie. He is more than likely going to be the favorite throughout the whole year.
Exum could have a chance at winning the award, depending on how the Jazz use him alongside the third place finisher in last season’s Rookie of the Year voting, Trey Burke. Also, as a fan, I think Exum will finish higher than seventh place by the time the votes are cast.