Mavs’ Dante Exum Making Name For Himself All Over Again

Guard Dante Exum was a lottery pick a decade ago, then out of the league for a few years, then latched on with the Mavericks in the offseason.Dante Exum, Dallas Mavericks, NBA

He has since become a regular part of the rotation on a winning team — and was even a major reason the Mavs won on Friday. After all, it was his 3-pointer with 27.5 seconds left that helped lift them past the Kings by a 107-103 count.

“In Exum we trust,” coach Jason Kidd told reporters.

Exum, 28, was selected by the Jazz with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He got off to an incredibly slow start, suffered a serious leg injury, and was traded to the Cavaliers in 2019. The Cavs traded him to the Rockets about two years later, and the Rockets waived him in the fall of 2021.

It seemed as if Exum would never return to the NBA, as he had spent the two seasons before this one in Spain and Serbia.

But the Mavs took a flyer and it’s paid off.

Now, he said, there’s a running joke with coaches about how he’s shooting 50 percent on 3-pointers.

“So if I miss one, the next one’s in,” Exum said. “I would just always have that mindset.”

But that’s not all a joke.

“Honestly, just even the ball to get to me and to have the trust to pass it is an amazing thing,” Exum said. “I think that’s hopefully what’s going to take this team far.”

Exum is averaging 8.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists, shooting 54 percent from the field and, yes, 50 percent on threes.

Dallas (44-29) currently sits in sixth place in the Western Conference, just one game behind the Pelicans for fifth and two behind the Clippers for fourth.

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