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Exum hopes Simmons slips through to the Lakers

Dante Exum is excited by Ben Simmons potentially becoming a No.1 pick in the NBA draft, but has joked he'd much prefer to see the 19-year-old taken second by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Exum, 20, who was selected by the Utah Jazz in the 2014 draft with pick No.5, says he knows exactly what Simmons is going through as he prepares to learn his fate.

While the Philadelphia 76ers have reportedly told Simmons they will take him with the first selection, Exum said he was crossing his fingers Simmons slipped through to the second pick so he could see more of his countryman.

Exum's Jazz only play two games per season against the Eastern conference's 76ers but there are at least three matches -- with a potential fourth regular-season match -- between the Jazz and Lakers, who are both part of the Western conference.

"I was telling him that I hope he goes to L.A so I can play him more," Exum, speaking at the Basketball Without Borders Asia camp at Dandenong Stadium, said. "But, depending on where he goes I still get a chance to play him.

"We have talked about this for so long and when that first game comes when I get to play him - I told him he's going to have to switch onto me. I definitely let him know that I'm going to come for him next year.

"I know what he's going through, some excitement and he's going to be nervous. You're not sure until your name is called, but hopefully he goes as that No.1 pick."

Simmons has been billed as a possible future superstar of the NBA, with many experts comparing him to some of the sport's greats.

Exum said being selected early in a draft did come with extra pressure, but he expected Simmons to be able to handle it.

"[He will be fine],100 percent. I think Ben's putting in the work. I met up with him in Los Angeles to talk about what he's been doing to prepare and I swear he keeps growing every time I see him," Exum said.

"He'll fit right in with the big guys in the NBA. I'm not sure what position he'll be playing but whatever team he goes to will have to be flexible with his skill set."

Just days ago the Jazz announced Exum would skip the Rio Olympics in a bid to focus on recovering from a knee reconstruction that kept him out of virtually the entire NBA season.

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Exum said the decision wasn't an easy one to make.

"It was such a tough call but I think it's going to help me in the long run to just be able to find my feet again and not have to rush back into it," Exum said.

"I've still got three months of off-season where I can work on things and continue to get used to playing again."