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Dante Exum's watch has ended.
After finishing as the second-leading scorer at 20 points a game and leading assist man at 6.3 a game among all players in the Utah Summer League, he's saving the rest of his basketball for the regular season. That was always the plan for the Utah Jazz, and Exum hit some benchmarks that the coaching staff wanted him to hit.
"He did a lot of good things," Jazz assistant Alex Jensen said after Utah's 68-65 win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. "I think he did get better, but it's a continuing process. That's the thing about Dante he's still not as good as he can be, and hopefully he realizes that as well."
Exum, it bears mentioning, did many things well in his three nights at the Huntsman Center.
The 6-foot-6 Australian needed to work on his career 38.5 shooting percentage, and during Summer League, he shot 51.2 percent. He needed to work on his outside shooting, and during Summer League, he was 5 for 12 from 3-point range. He needed to improve his vision and passing, and he led all players in assists and even had a double-double against Philadelphia.
One can only derive so much confidence from Summer League, but it's a step for Exum as he attempts to assert himself as a viable backup point guard behind Ricky Rubio. Utah has experimented with Exum as an off-guard, but the 21-year-old has made it clear that he wants to run point. Gordon Hayward's missing scoring production only makes it more critical for Exum to refine his offensive game.
After missing large swaths of each of the last two offseasons with injury, Exum has been able to get in a full load of offseason skill work with the Jazz for the first time in his career. Jensen's big critique of Exum was his conditioning (though it should be noted Exum played 27 minutes per game, longer than most of his stints in NBA games).
"Still, I think Dante still wants to be more consistent," he said. "When he gets tired, he has a bigger drop-off than he should."
Exum will be replaced on the roster by Travis Leslie, who averaged 13.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in the Orlando Summer League playing for the Indiana Pacers.
Forward Bolomboy sits, will return
Second-year forward Joel Bolomboy was dressed in street clothes on Thursday night after playing the previous two games at Huntsman Center. Jensen said Bolomboy had "a bump" that kept him out.
"It's no time to be a hero," Jensen said. "We still have at least four games. He gave us a good effort in the first two games."
Bolomboy is expected to play in Las Vegas.
Jazz to face former Utahn Swanigan
Up first for Utah in Las Vegas are the Portland Trail Blazers, featuring No. 26 overall pick Caleb Swanigan from Purdue.
Swanigan, the Big 10 player of the year, spent many of his adolescent years living in Salt Lake City, and a part of that time homeless. He moved to Indiana before enrolling in high school, and played the rest of his career in that state.
The Vegas opener will also see Jazz pick Nigel Williams-Goss reunited with Trail Blazers pick Zach Collins the duo played on Gonzaga's national runner-up team last year.
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Jazz in Las Vegas
Utah's Summer League schedule (all times MDT)
Saturday, 4 p.m. • Portland Trail Blazers, Cox Pavilion, ESPNU
Sunday, 6 p.m. • Los Angeles Clippers, Cox Pavilion, NBATV
Tuesday, 2:30 p.m. • Memphis Grizzlies, Thomas & Mack Center, ESPNU
July 12-17 • Time and place TBD