Of the top draft prospects in this year's mega NBA Draft, Dante Exum remains the biggest mystery.
The 6-foot-6 Australian point guard wowed everyone at the Nike Hoops Summit as a high school senior (or its equivalent) a few years ago, reportedly outshining many members of this current freshman class. The only thing is nobody has really seen him play as he decided to spend his year in Australia rather than playing one year of college basketball.
Exum is a clear top-5 pick at this point and the few people I have talked to about him that have seen him play and work out rave about him in just about every way.
He will be someone the Magic will seriously consider drafting with their first pick in the draft. And, according to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, Exum is seriously considering the Magic too:
So which teams could use Exum? While Livingston said "really any team because he has so much talent and so much upside," Exum has two in mind: the Lakers and Orlando Magic. With the Lakers, interestingly enough, that's his go-to squad in NBA 2K14—"You would need to play a whole lot to get on my level," he said—and that was his team's name during the tournament.
As for the Magic, he envisions helping his close friend Victor Oladipo—they met at Indiana during Exum's recruiting visit when he was contemplating college—with point guard duties.
"They’re having some point guard problems and they’re trying to get Victor Oladipo into the point guard," he said. "Also, having a good relationship with Victor, I think that would be a good fit. He could kind of mentor me a bit coming into the point guard."
No doubt, Magic fans would love to see Exum or Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart in a Magic uniform to be the point guard of the organization's future. There is still a lot of scouting to do.
The fact that a young player wants to come to Orlando, and that Orlando is in a position to draft him, is a good sign that the young players out there see the Magic as a great organization to start their career with and develop and grow. Victor Oladipo obviously made an impact on Exum too in their brief interaction.
Of course, there is that big purple and gold shadow hulking over the franchise.
Like the Magic, the Lakers appear to be in position to draft Exum too. And if he has his heart set on playing in Los Angeles, well, that has not worked out too well for Orlando in the past (twice!).
Exum signed with Kobe Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka, and who knows how the behind-the-scenes machinations will actually work. If Exum really wants to play for the Lakers immediately, it would not be surprising to see that actually happen.
And, of course, who knows if Exum really wants to push that kind of a request as a rookie about to enter the Draft. He may just be happy to play in the NBA and leave the orchestrations of his location to free agency.
Either way, Exum seems determined to do big things in the NBA for himself — he is compared to Shaun Livingston and Anfernee Hardaway — and for Australia. The Magic will have to take a look when the time comes.