At a 2014 NBA Draft that featured plenty of trades, the Utah Jazz didn’t move on Thursday June 26, opting to wait and see how things played out. After Kansas center Joel Embiid went with the third selection to Philly following the selections of Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins and sentimental Jazz fan favorite, Duke star Jabari Parker--and Arizona forward and likely Jazz target Aaron Gordon went fourth, the Jazz had a player who was projected to go top three fall right into their lap.
The Jazz wasted little time in making their decision, selecting 6-foot-6-inch Australian guard Dante Exum, thought by many to be the best guard in this loaded draft class, at No. 5. While the move surprised some who thought the Jazz already have a capable point guard in Trey Burke--who made the All-Rookie team last season--the NBA is going more towards a two-point guard system of late.
So much as some might say Utah’s selection of Exum made Jazz guard Trey Burke angry, in truth it was quite the opposite as Burke watched the draft live from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Burke even shook Exum’s hand and had a photo taken together with his newest teammate after the Australian made his way through the bright lights of basketball’s biggest event, sporting a neat gray blazer and vest ensemble to go with an obligatory draft night Jazz lid.
"Congrats @daanteee excited about the pick!Looking forward to continue 2 grow in the backcourt! #FirstGoalPlayoffs #ImpossibleisNothing #801," Burke tweeted from the draft.
Exum’s arrival in Utah and immediate acceptance from Burke refutes a tweet that reporter Jonathan Givony’s sent out after Aaron Gordon was taken No. 4 by Orlando--which stated that in the pre-draft run-up the Australian found Utah to be too small for his liking.
“Where does Dante Exum go now? He refused to work out for Utah and did not want to get picked there because of "their market" and Trey Burke,” Givony said.
So it appears that Exum and Burke will co-exist while playing the same position in the Beehive State, despite numerous reports that Exum didn’t want to play for the Jazz. With the Foot Locker commercials you saw on Thursday night, Exum's face on TV may become as familiar as his game--the part that Jazz fans hope will shine bright for years to come.