Rookies Dante Exum and Rodney Hood did what was expected of them on Friday, July 11. They signed rookie deals with the Utah Jazz, the team that drafted them earlier this month. Considering Exum has already been hard at work signing his autograph in his Foot Locker commercial, inking this paper was a walk in the park for him.
Exum’s deal is reported to be worth about $3.6 million per season and Hood‘s will be $1.2 million, according to Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. Each contract is a two-year deal--and the Jazz would have the option to re-sign either player in seasons three and four, or both.
Exum and Hood kicked off their rookie campaigns at a public scrimmage held in front of over 10,000 eager fans at the EnergySolutions Arena on Thursday, July 10.
The scrimmage featured all of the players set to travel to Las Vegas for the upcoming NBA Summer League, a five-game tournament where rookies and sophomore players, free agents and other hopefuls are selected for NBA teams and do battle in team competitions over a 10-day span.
Though stats were not kept at the scrimmage on Thursday night, Exum reportedly struggled from the field, missing all of his shots from the perimeter. Hood, however, had a number of highlight-reel plays and may be a force to be reckoned with in Vegas--as might Trey Burke, the second-year man and All-Rookie team selection last year.
Both Hood and Burke played well during the scrimmage, and new Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder added that Exum’s defense looks promising.
“The biggest thing that (has) stood out to me — and it was noticeable tonight — he’s really guarded,” Snyder said Thursday in the Deseret News article. “He’s really in a stance, playing passing lanes, and I like to see that.”
With Exum’s length and his 6-foot-6-inch frame, the Australian should be able to stick his hands in and create havoc--leading to turnovers and easy transition baskets for the Jazz.
Jazz fans obviously hope that Exum’s offense catches up to his defense. As Jazz brass have cautioned on many occasions though, banking your hopes on either Exum or Hood being All-Stars this season is probably something that might work better down the road.