Dante Exum compares Euroleague to NBA: “I could tell you stories about losing just one game”

2024-02-24T20:04:13+00:00 2024-02-24T20:04:13+00:00.

Nikola Miloradovic

24/Feb/24 20:04


Australian guard Dante Exum shared insights into his EuroLeague experiences with Barcelona and Partizan, comparing them to the NBA

By Eurohoops team / info@eurohoops.net



Dante Exum returned to the NBA via the EuroLeague, featuring for Barcelona and Partizan before joining the Dallas Mavericks and becoming a key player in Jason Kidd’s setup in Texas.

In a conversation with former NBA player Devin Harris on the “Top Shelf” podcast, the Australian guard shared insights into his European experiences and drew comparisons with the NBA.

I signed with Barcelona and the EuroLeague; it’s amazing over there. Fans care, and for players, it’s all about winning. I wanted to re-spark that love and the desire to win, not that in the NBA you don’t want to win because everybody wants to win, but sometimes it’s too easy to scrap it under the table and move on to the next one. Over there, I could tell you stories about losing just one game you were not expected to lose. It’s that pressure on winning over there,” Exum explained.

However, it wasn’t like that for him at the beginning of his European adventure, where the only focus was getting back to the NBA.

For me, it was all about getting back to the NBA, didn’t matter win or lose, but I quickly got out of that and just wanted to win. I wanted to win EuroLeague.”

After an episode with the Spanish powerhouse, the former No. 5 NBA draft pick decided to sign with Partizan Belgrade and work with the most decorated European coach, Zeljko Obradovic.

It was shaky there, but I really liked my time in Barcelona. Then I decided to take a risk and went to Partizan in Serbia. The culture behind that team is unbelievable, second to none. I loved every step of that, being coached by the most famous coach over there, more famous than the players. We are walking through the airport, and they want pictures with him, not with us. Learning from him, being in that environment, with 20,000 fans chanting, cheering, wanting us to play hard. Win or lose, as long as we played hard, and put our heart on the court for the jersey, that’s all that mattered to them, and I loved it.”

Time spent with Partizan, with whom Dante won the ABA League and was on the verge of the EuroLeague Final Four, helped him improve and turn the heads again in the NBA.

The biggest thing for me was playing and understanding the point guard role there. In Europe, the fourth quarter, the last five minutes, is the most important time of the game, and just learning how to understand the game and control it from that aspect is huge. That turned me into kind of a leader. Over here it’s easy to be quiet, having superstars on your team who run the show. I was forced into a role to have to talk, and help the younger guys, even guys of my age. Also, defensive schemes, understanding what we are doing against this and that team, how offense and defense change… Our coach’s offenses are crazy. It’s more of a thinking game over there. NBA is a very stats league, and it’s hard to show that you can contribute without getting stats, and the biggest thing for me is to play the right way,” Dante Exum concluded speaking to Devin Harris.