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Not fazed by critics ... and all that Jazz

ON COURT: Utah Jazz’s Dante Exum plays in a pre-season game earlier this month.
ON COURT: Utah Jazz’s Dante Exum plays in a pre-season game earlier this month. Rick Bowmeraap

WHEN you get selected at No.5 in the NBA draft, you should expect nothing less than a thorough examination of your credentials.

Rising Australian star Dante Exum has certainly been put under the microscope since being picked up by the Utah Jazz in June.

The weight of expectation took an ugly twist just last week when well-known analyst Bill Simmons and former NBA star Jalen Rose said they were astounded the 19-year-old, who bypassed the US college system, was taken at No.5.

In a highly-critical segment on American television, the pair super-imposed a baby's face on Exum's body to emphasise their view he was not ready for the rigours of the world's toughest basketball competition.

That followed a disappointing pre-season game against the LA Clippers, led by star guard Chris Paul, when Exum committed eight turnovers.

But after bouncing back with 13 points against Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers, and then nine points, two assists and a rebound in 16 minutes in a rematch with the Clippers, Exum said he had been too busy trying to learn his role with the Jazz to notice what people were saying.

"I don't even read the criticism," he told APN.

"I'm just trying to find my feet, establish my role in the team and hopefully improve from the work I did last year."

Exum said he made a conscious effort to cut down his turnover rate after the first game against the Clippers.

"The coach (Quin Snyder) talked to me about a few turnovers from last game and I just tried to adjust from that," he said.

It seems the criticism levelled at Exum has also not affected the coach.

"There are going to be growing pains, but hopefully he can learn quickly," Snyder said.

"He's so fast because he's so lean and long, so a shorter, stronger person can get into him more.

"(But) he got lower; he had his best game (against the Lakers)."

Exum, who stands 196cm and weighs 86kg, compared to Bryant at 198cm and 96kg, said he was getting used to playing against bigger and stronger bodies.

"Game by game I'm getting used to it - learning how to play through the contact," he said.

Fellow Aussie Brock Motum is also on the roster at Utah, one of a record eight Australians set to play in the 2014/15 NBA season which tips off on October 29.

The 24-year-old earned his place after a strong showing for the Boomers in the recent World Cup in Spain, averaging 6.5 points and 13 minutes per game.

"Any time you go against the top guys from each country and you can do your thing, it builds your confidence," the 208cm forward said.

Motum had an impressive college career with the Washington State Cougars, before enjoying success with Granarolo Bologna in the top Italian league.

Topics:  nba