While Australian prospect Dante Exum won't be the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, there is a slight chance he could leapfrog his way into the top-3 of the 2014 NBA Draft, according to ESPN Insider's Chad Ford. It's widely been assumed that Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker will, in some order, fill out the first three picks in the 2014 draft, but Ford believes the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers aren't so quick to count out selecting Exum with the second or third picks.
Why it makes sense
The Bucks might use their second overall pick to nab Exum, as he could be a strong one-two punch with point guard Brandon Knight. Milwaukee management reportedly believes that Knight is more of a shooting guard, and while Exum is likewise a combo guard he could be the primary defender of opposing shooting guards with his 6'6 build. That would make it possible for Knight to play off the ball, but defend point guards.
With the third overall pick, Philadelphia might like a backcourt pairing of Exum and reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. But Ford reports it's also possible the team might use Carter-Williams in a trade, which would make Exum the replacement point guard.
Why it doesn't make sense
Obviously, a team that selects Exum would be taking him over one or more of Wiggins, Embiid and Parker. For that to happen, a team will have to get caught up in the flaws of any one of those players. Embiid's back issue could be the only thing stopping him from going first overall, and Ford reports the Sixers would take Wiggins over Exum if he's on the board.
Parker is only fighting a rumor that he was out of shape that's since been squashed, though some might believe he has limited upside as a long-term prospect.
For a player who didn't play in front of scouts often or against NBA-level competition, it's hard to see Exum hopping the players in front of him. That said, it's then hard to see Exum being passed up by the Orlando Magic and their fourth pick.