19 year-old Dante Exum clearly already knows how to work the media. After Brandon Knight misfired on a game-tying shot in the final seconds of the Milwaukee Bucks’ 101-99 loss to the Utah Jazz last night, the rookie boasted that his team allowed Knight a shot because they “knew he was going to miss it.”
UPDATE: We were alerted by a Jazz official to the following tweet we simply missed initially. It’s a somewhat glaring omission:
While we never explicitly write that Exum’s one-liner was serious, it certainly bears mentioning that the reporter who transcribed it clarified the rookie’s tone shortly thereafter. Apologies for the oversight.
Here’s video of the final play. As you can see, Knight gets a wide open look from a spot where he’s comfortable shooting:
Exum gets burned here. He’s ball-watching on the weak-side when Giannis Antetokounmpo catches, allowing Khris Middleton to easily screen him and free Knight at the top of the key.
Might that have really been Utah’s strategy? No way. Knight is actually a slightly below-average shooter from that area of the floor, but still makes 58.3 percent of his “wide open” two-point field goals. Exum and the Jazz dodged a bullet here, basically.
The young Aussie’s comments help him avoid criticism and are also a fun bit of gamesmanship. While opposing players would likely prefer that Exum earn his stripes before such a quip, we don’t mind – this is the type of talk that helps make the NBA a wildly entertaining soap opera.
What do you think?
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