There were flashes from Dante Exum.
There was the loping, lull-you-to-sleep dribble followed by an explosive first step where he was past his defender and at the rim. There were creative passes where his height let him see the play and he made a smart and creative choice. There were moments you could see him as the real point guard of the future in Utah.
But then there were the 15 turnovers to 14 assists through Summer League. There was the 30.8 shooting percentage. There were struggles adjusting to a level of athleticism he was clearly not used to seeing or playing against.
Wiggins owned up to all of that and the steps he needs to take coming out of Summer League, speaking to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com.
“The last games I played was high school games and I’m one of the bigger guys out there that can push guys around,” he said. “Here, I get into the paint and I’m getting knocked over.”
“It’s been a big couple weeks for him,” said Brad Jones, the Jazz assistant coach who ran the team in the Summer-League games. “He’s got a lot going on. He’s had some ups and downs through this, but it’s also why we play Summer League, for him to go through the ups and downs.”
Exum is a project, something the Jazz knew when they drafted him. The talent was there but is yet untapped.
The Jazz roster is full of guys who need to develop — Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Rudy Gobert, Alec Burks — and that’s why they brought in Qujn Snyder as coach. Forget wins and losses, those will be a product of developing all that young talent. Snyder and his staff get the job ahead of them.
However, after seeing him in Vegas, Exum may have a higher upside than any of those guys. He also has the longest climb to get there.