The Utah Jazz added an interesting footnote to its franchise recently, selecting Australian guard Dante Exum No. 5 at the 2014 NBA Draft. Jazz fans were overjoyed when their team selected Exum--giving the team a logjam at the point guard position with Trey Burke and John Lucas III--while also keeping an eye on its future.
Normally, such a situation might cause a team’s fan base to freak out and start throwing furniture across their living rooms. But, having the player that many have argued was the best point guard prospect to come out of the 2014 NBA Draft--and a very good point guard in Burke--gives the Jazz the option of playing dual point guards at the same time, or playing each intermittently.
Exum was expected to have been selected in the top three--but when Joel Embiid went to Philadelphia at No.3 and Aaron Gordon to Orlando at No. 4 it set the stage for a memorable draft as the Aussie slid to Utah with the fifth pick.
Does branding matter in this situation? Absolutely, and that Duke star Jabari Parker--also a devout Mormon--was considered the Jazz’ No. 1 draft day target is a big sign that Utah knew it needed someone who could strengthen the franchise brand.
While Andrew Wiggins was arguably a better overall prospect than Parker, the Jazz knew what Parker could bring to the team and the state on and off the court. Exum was also near the top of their list in that regard.
But Exum--who is an Australian Celebrity of epic proportion, already has built a following based on his popularity overseas, and most recently has come stateside in a giant way in various TV commercials--may actually have more marketability than Jabari. How so? Let us count the ways. Click on the slideshow for five reasons why Exum is potentially a better brand.