Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2015 NBA Draft: Top 10 Prospects — Mario Hezonja

#6 Mario Hezonja — 6'7" 200 lbs | 20 yrs-old | Croatia | Guard | FC Barcelona

Bio: There’s a reason why Hezonja’s top stats come with the caveat “per 36 minutes.” Playing on one of the top teams in Europe, Hezonja only averaged 16.1 minutes per game for FC Barcelona in Euroleague play. There have been multiple reported reasons for his lack of playing time, ranging from his attitude to his tendencies to operate outside to the playbook. But when he has been on the court, Hezonja has shined. He possesses a rare combination of athleticism and shooting ability. Hezonja’s dossier is prototypical for an elite NBA wing player and could excel in a free-flowing system that allows for the 20-year-old to learn on the fly.
Mario Hezonja [Upside: Manu Ginobili -vs- Downside: Jimmer Fredette]
Strengths: Hezonja might very well be the best shooter in this draft class. He has picture-perfect form, rising with great elevation and firing shots with an extremely fluid release. He has great size and tremendous athleticism for a wing player in today’s NBA as well. Hezonja is explosive off the dribble, using a quick first step to blow past defenders. And once he gets into the paint, he has the leaping ability and power to finish strong at the rim and challenge bigger defenders. An aggressive offensive player, he isn’t shy about putting his head down in pursuit to the rim. Very few players possess this combination of fundamental skill with sheer elite athleticism.
Weaknesses: While Hezonja can get to the rim off the bounce, his ball-handling still needs to be tightened. Working towards the top of the key, Hezonja has the tendency to waste movement going east to west and often over-dribbles himself into hoisting poor shots towards the end of the shot clock. Hezonja plays with incredible confidence and swagger, but that has often translated into poor body language on the court when he’s not intricately involved. His behavior has raised serious concerns back to the junior level.
NBA comparison: Klay Thompson

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