The Utah Jazz are on the brink of becoming a perennial postseason contender, but the franchise must continue on that path during the 2015-16 NBA season without Danté Exum.
Exum, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2014 draft, reportedly sustained a non-contact ACL injury during an exhibition matchup while competing for the Australian National Team. The Jazz have confirmed the diagnosis.
It’s an unfortunate setback to an improving Utah squad. After starting 41 games last season, Exum was expected to lock down a spot in the lineup alongside Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert and Alec Burks.
However, third-year guard Trey Burke will avoid relegation to the bench since Exum is unlikely to return. ACL injuries usually take a full year to rehab, so Burke should expect another season as a 30-minute-per-night contributor.
Last season—in a tremendously small sample size—the five-man unit of Burke, Burks, Hayward, Favors and Gobert posted a 106.8 offensive rating and 65.3 defensive clip, per NBA.com.
Burks could also receive some minutes as the point guard, while reserve Bryce Cotton should round out the rotation.
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