Weight: 200 lb
Position: Shooting Guard
NBA Combine Measurements and Times: Did not participate
Draft Projection: Top 10
2014-2015 Statistics (Spain):
6.1 PPG 1.1 APG 2.0 RPG 46.5 FG% 39.1 3PT% 76.7 FT%
NBA Player Comparison: Zach Lavine
Don’t look at the stats above, they will mislead you to believing that Mario Hezonja is not a good basketball player. He has played for a very good Barcelona team in Spain and has had to come off the bench. In limited minutes, he has shown his incredible shooting touch and athleticism. His 6’8 frame is very attractive for NBA teams. We haven’t seen an international player with his kind of athleticism and dunking ability for a very long time, if ever.
There is a lot of risk that comes with drafting Hezonja. He has had limited time, as mentioned, and he hasn’t played the kind of meaningful minutes that some of the college players coming out have. Now do keep in mind that he has been practicing every day with a very good and experienced Barcelona team. Hezonja’s main problem in transferring to the NBA will be his defense. Can he really even come close to defending some of the quicker shooting guards he will have to cover like Monta Ellis and James Harden? Right now, there is no chance, but his NBA coaches will help him with that.
Mario Hezonja and Zach Lavine have very similar games. They both have very similar athleticism. While Lavine is a couple inches shorter than Hezonja and has better ups, they both have incredible finishing skills. They both shoot in similar ways as well. Hezonja, like Lavine, can heat up in a flash, but has trouble with consistency. Mario Hezonja needs to practice shooting off of a screen. He will need to excel in that aspect if he will become a regular in the NBA. For now, it doesn’t seem as though Mario has the kind of playing experience that will warrant him consistent playing time in the NBA, but I personally believe that a team in the 6, 7, or 8 range in the draft should take a chance on Mario Hezonja.
Future Professional Potential: Role Player