A Royal Selection: Mario Hezonja


Mario Hezonja

Height: 6’6 Weight: 214

More from Kings News

The Player: Mario Hezonja’s potential should be intriguing to teams with lottery picks in the draft, but on the other hand there are qualities in his game that might make him a hit-and-miss player. He has excellent size for a small forward (6’6 and 214 lb), and athleticism that helps him slash and the shoot the ball effectively on offense.

His defense also has promise, as highlights have shown Hezonja giving opponents fits at times with his tenacious effort. I think all scouts can agree that Hezonja has great upside to his game, but with it also carries some baggage.

Hezonja has the ability to make SportsCenter top plays, but at the same time he has the tendency to make poor decisions as well. He also lacks consistency on both sides of the court, and when his offense starts to sizzle out, his effort on defense tends to as well, which leads to the alleged “attitude” problems that he has been known to have with coaches and teammates. To sum it up, he is a great talent, but at the same time is a dangerous gamble. 

Statistics: In the 54 total games that Hezonja played in the Liga and Euroleague with FC Barcelona, he only averaged 5.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per contest. To be fair he did only play around 16 minutes a contest, but that amount of playing time may be the same when he gets to the NBA because of how raw he is as a player.

A bright spot to his stats was that he shot around 45% from the floor and 38% from the perimeter, which if those numbers can reflect to the NBA can help fill a huge shooting void that the Kings have.

Despite his shooting numbers, Hezonja overall statistics makes me wonder why he is projected so high in the mock drafts, and if he really is a viable option for the Kings to take. His overall potential has not translated to his statistics yet, which makes it seem he is more of a project than a player that can be effective right away.

Draft Range: Most mock drafts have Hezonja being selected around the 5-10 pick in the draft, and even some having the Kings taking him. With that being said, the likelihood of Hezonja coming to Sacramento is realistic. In fact there is an article on Sactown Royalty that mentions that Vlade Divac is very interested in Hezonja. I guess only time will tell if the Kings actually do pull the trigger on Mario.

The Fit: Hezonja does have qualities in his game that are compatible to what the Kings are looking for. He has the ability to both shoot and drive to the basket at an effective rate from time to time, making him a potential scoring threat. He also has shown his capability on defense, as his size and athleticism help him stick to his opponents.

If selected by the Kings, I see Hezonja playing both at the three and two positions. I don’t know if he will be worthy of starting, but that can be later answered if he is added to the roster.

Hezonja has the ability to be two-way player, but he has shown to be inconsistent during his time in Europe, and inconsistency is something that the Kings are trying to get away from going forward. If Hezonja somehow becomes more reliable on both sides of the court, then he can become a big-time steal for the Kings if selected.

Final Thoughts: Overall, the potential that Hezonja has is very intriguing, but his attitude is what I find the most interesting. He is extremely cocky, and people might think that’s a weakness to his game, but I consider it an asset.

It’s good for players, especially young players, to have confidence in their game and not be intimidated by the competition. Sure they are also players that display confidence and that are full of themselves, but I don’t think that’s the case with Hezonja. I think its more mental toughness than blowing smoke.

Despite my liking of the European prospect, I don’t however see the Kings picking him to be a great choice. Considering that the Kings are looking to win now, and that current head coach George Karl is known not to play rookies significant minutes, I don’t think the Kings will be investing their draft pick on the talented, but very raw player from FC Barcelona.