The Utah Jazz don’t exactly have the brightest of outlooks for the 2014-15 NBA season. There are certainly pieces in place and the team made a solid long-term investment in matching an offer sheet signed by Gordon Hayward. However, this is still a young team whose greatest hopes lie in the future and the development of the young talent on their roster.
On Friday, though, even that plan almost took a big hit. As the Australian National Team was facing off against Finland to kick off their European tour of matchups in FIBA competition, Jazz rookie guard Dante Exum went up for a dunk and landed awkwardly. He then was forced to go to the sideline with what appeared to be a knee injury (report per Hayley Byrnes).
Exum eventually walked it off and then was seen sitting on the bench with the rest of that Australian team. While that’s a good sign that he didn’t have to go to the locker room and possibly just tweaked something, the Jazz had to be holding their collective breath with the sight of him having his knee looked at on the sideline.
With what recent happened at the USA Basketball Showcase in Las Vegas with Paul George, there is a lot of speculation about whether or not NBA team should allow their players to play in FIBA competition. This instance with Exum could only further fuel that speculation.
More pressing to the Jazz, though, they undoubtedly have to make sure that Exum takes precautionary measures regarding his knee. Even if he required no further treatment of Friday afternoon, the Jazz can’t afford Exum to have any lingering effects from tweaking his knee. If that means sitting out a game or two of FIBA play (or even more), that’s a measure that Utah and Exum should be willing to take.