In a lot of ways, Dante Exum was supposed to be the next great NBA point guard, and was the prototypical type of player the NBA, at the time, truly coveted. He was long and unselfish. He was a good passer, with a tremendous ceiling and a sturdy floor. Injuries, and a lack of a consistent jumper, doomed him, however. So even though the Jazz were very optimistic about him coming in, his injuries and inefficiency caught up with him.
Trades then happened, followed by Exum going off to the EuroLeague for a few seasons, before returning stateside to play for the Dallas Mavericks. And the Jazz's once ballyhooed and hyped fifth-overall pick from the 2014 NBA Draft is finally finding his success nearly a decade later.
He's putting up a 2.1 BPM for the season, while posting the highest true shooting percentage of his career (61.5%), and putting up career-best figures from the floor (52.8%) and from three (40.8%). He's on pace to score more points this season than in any point prior in his career, and maybe even in totality, if he stays healthy and is part of the Mavericks rotation. He's even on a three-game streak where he's shooting 64% overall, and 66.7% from three. He's averaging just under 21 points per game during that span, 4.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and is playing some of his best defense in his career. He even went 7 of 9 from three against the Los Angeles Lakers.
And despite all that, the Utah Jazz were right to move on from him. Let's be clear, if Exum somehow ended up on the block and the Jazz got him; that would be a great trade. He'd be the team's best point guard from the jump and would bring stability to the position with some much-needed efficiency and consistency, both things rookie upstart Keyonte George can't bring on a nightly basis, yet.
But just because the Jazz would take him in a Salt Lake City minute, that doesn't mean that Exum would've become this player had he stayed with the franchise. Clearly, the time away from the NBA and the mounting injuries forced Exum to change up a lot of his game, and is now unrecognizable from who he was when he was first with the Jazz.
It's likely he wouldn't become this impressive cog in the Mavericks machine if he hadn't gone overseas for some time.