Smack / Jun 24, 2014 / 4:30 pm

One GM Says Dante Exum Is “Closest Thing I’ve Seen” To Young Kobe Bryant

Dante Exum

Dante Exum (photo. Instagram/daanteee)

Likely top-four draft pick Dante Exum made his American debut in a pair of Foot Locker commericals released yesterday, but intrigue surrounding the NBA’s new man of mystery still hadn’t reached a fever pitch. Then came today. On the newest episode of the “BS Report,” ESPN draft guru Chad Ford says that one league executive compares Exum to Kobe Bryant.

Ford and Bill Simmons begin discussing Exum around the podcast’s 34 minute mark. After gushing over the 18 year-old Australian’s combination of basketball and intangible prowess, Ford took that praise a step further.

“One general manager said, ‘He’s the closest that I’ve seen to a young Kobe Bryant,'” Ford explained.


Exum has long been considered one of the top four talents in this draft class, but was behind Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, and Jabari Parker on most draft boards because teams know so comparatively little about him. Exum has played the majority of his basketball against Australian high-schoolers for the past few years, though he shined at the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit and in FIBA play for his country’s Under-19 team.

A 6-6 combo guard with long arms, elite speed and quickness, and a feel for the game offensively that belies his years, Exum’s physical meris as a prospect are obvious. And according to Ford, he reportedly tested “off-the-charts” in multiple teams’ personality tests, too. Other than a lack of competition, the biggest question about Exum is his streaky jumper and inattentiveness on defense. Obviously, though, those are attributes that young players frequently improve upon over time in the NBA.

Embiid’s injury has put the top of the draft in flux, but Wiggins and Parker still seem frontrunners for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks in some order. If the quoted GM is right about Exum, however, he should certainly be the number one pick in this draft. Young Kobe Bryants, obviously, are few and far between.

Is Kobe a good comparison for Exum?

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  • 2cents

    Look, I want Exum to do well in the NBA and think he has a good chance, but the closest thing to a young Kobe? Did Ford forget his meds?

  • Greg ‘King Saeed’ Williams

    This kid played in Australia for crying out loud and not against top NBA caliber talent! I’m not buying it as one only has to look at Ricky Rubio for a reference of what ‘Hype’ gets you…

  • cam

    Kobe went at 13 in the draft, he wasn’t even that impressive when he was young. Not to mention you probably have barely seen the kid play. This isn’t an overeach.

  • cam

    Turn your brain on, he’s dominated for his national team against teams across the world.

  • 2cents

    Kobe had a jumper when he was drafted. Again, I want Exum to excel, but think the over-hyping over the kid can be dangerous for his career. If he lands on the right team and doesn’t have his development stunted, I would love to see him become a star, but from what I’ve seen, he isn’t on the same level Kobe was coming out of HS.

  • David Jordan Jr

    You are correct 2cents. People get so caught up in hype in today’s game that they fail to look at talent for what it is. Every good player today is considered the next great thing. When players like Kobe & KG came out of high school it was no questioning their talent. The things they are doing in their professional careers, they were doing in high school. And they did it against the best without the hype. Their hype was given to them after they earned it.

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  • JD

    I remember lots of ppl were laughing for how Kobe was compared to MJ when he just came into the league…

  • irolle

    I fully agree