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

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?

Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.