Scouting Report: Mario Hezonja

Mario Hezonja is a shooting guard for FC Barcelona. Hezonja is 6’8 with a wingspan of 6’10. For the year, Hezonja averaged 16.3 minutes per game, 7.7 points per game, 2.0 rebounds per game, 1.4 assists per game, 0.6 steals per game, while shooting 47.4% from the field, and 38.2% from three.

Pros:

  • Good basketball IQ
  • Good amount of court vision
  • Ideal size for a wing
  • Great athleticism
  • Explosive
  • Good body control
  • Good shooter
  • Quick release
  • Range to hit any shot
  • Can guard the 2 or 3 position
  • Instinct for disrupting passing lanes
  • Size and length make him a decent rebounding wing
  • “Clutch factor”

Cons:

  • Improving overall body strength
  • Gifted shooter, but struggles most with his mid-range jump shot
  • Struggles creating his own shot
  • Needs work on performance consistency
  • Not a great ball handler
  • Needs to learn to defer to teammates more often when guarded heavily
  • Can be too aggressive on defense, making him foul prone
  • Emotional player

Overall:

Mario Hezonja is an intriguing, young wing prospect from Croatia. Hezonja is very gifted offensively, where he has a quick, deadly shot that he can use from anywhere on the court. Hezonja is very explosive when he drives to the rim, and where his elite athleticism can be seen. When Hezonja is not driving to the rim, his offensive game brings a lot of jumpers and corner threes. Despite having good court vision and passing ability, Hezonja will often hold the ball and try to create offense for himself instead of passing to an open teammate. This trait is more than likely from his cocky, competitive nature that has lead him to become a very emotional player. Although a cocky and competitive player, Hezonja can sometimes need a little extra motivation to play at a high level game in and game out which is little concerning, but with experienced veterans and NBA coaches this should be easily fixed. Being as confident as he is in his game, Hezonja often embraces the role of having to take the last shot and does have the so called “clutch factor” that a lot of teams could use. On the defensive side of the ball, Hezonja uses his size and length to play solid man-on-man defense. He shows good instincts for disrupting passing lanes and with his explosiveness and development he could become a force in transition offense. Hezonja is able to guard both the 2 and 3, but that is about it for him defensively. Overall, Hezonja is looked upon by most draft experts as a top ten pick in the upcoming 2015 NBA draft. Most mock drafts have him being selected by the Denver Nuggets or Charlotte Hornets, which both teams would suit him well, for they both need confident shooters, and he would not be the main guy allowing for him to ease his way into the NBA game.

Pro Comparison:

High-James Harden/Low-J.R. Smith

I am not one into giving high and low ends to compare players, but Hezonja is a mystery for what he offers. Offensively, he has the ability to be as big of a threat as Harden is, but his inconsistency and stubbornness compare more to Smith. Inconsistency with good shot selection has plagued Smith’s career leading him to never fill the potential most saw in him. With Smith, one of his biggest flaws is his selfishness and coming over from Europe, Hezonja, needs to develop this part of his game to succeed in the NBA, since he does possess great court vision, much like Harden. Along with both of these players, Hezonja likes the big moments and being the guy to have the last shot. His ball handling skills compare much to Smith, as it needs work, for he is not a threat this way. Defensively, Hezonja, is way better than both these players. Granted, Harden has massively improved this past season, but we do not know if he will sustain this level of play from now on. Smith, if you follow basketball, know he is one of the worst defensive wings in the league. Hezonja, on the other hand has a willingness to play defense and has great instincts at jumping the lane, and using this to create transition offense. As stated before, I do not like making multiple comparisons for a player because it does not accurately portray a player as well. Unfortunately, Hezonja, has to be one of those guys, and with the Harden comparison, if he can increase his performance consistency, his offensive potential is sky high, and defensively he can be better than average, leading to potentially multiple All-Star appearances. On the low end with Smith, Hezonja, without developing consistency, ball handling, and better shot selections could end up much like Smith and be a deadly spot-up shooter, but not a good, complete offensive player. With his defensive play light-years ahead of Smith, Hezonja, would be a better version of him and a great sixth man for teams. To bring everything together, On the high end, Hezonja could be a yearly All-Star, or at worst a solid sixth man.

By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17

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