clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mario Hezonja not the best fit for the Magic

While his shooting would help the Magic, Mario Hezonja's red flags and Orlando's stable of wings should prompt them to look elsewhere.

Coming off a season where they finished middle-of-the-pack in three-point shooting, the Orlando Magic could look to rectify that shortcoming with the fifth pick in this month's NBA Draft. While they have holes in other areas, their generally poor spacing on offense has hindered them as they continue to grow and try to find an offense that works for them. With starting small forward Tobias Harris set to hit restricted free agency, it would behoove the Magic to look at potential replacements for Harris, should he end up leaving.

One of the players lumped into the group expected to go in the four-to-eight range of the Draft is Mario Hezonja, a 20-year-old sharpshooter. Hezonja, 20, has played the last two seasons for the Spanish team FC Barcelona, showing off smooth shooting both on and off of the dribble; coming off of screens; and spotting up. Hezonja also shows a strong slashing ability, another skill of Harris'.

While Orlando might welcome Hezonja's smooth, high-arcing jumper, he has some red flags that, based on its previous draft picks and comments, could keep the team looking elsewhere.

Questions have been raised as to Hezonja's motor on the defensive end, with DraftExpress explaining he sometimes allows his offense to dictate how hard he plays on D. Hezonja has also struggled to find consistency this season with Barcelona, scoring in double digits in over 10 games, while going scoreless in another 10. Some of his inconsistency can be traced back to the team and its talent level at the guard spots, but it's still worrisome to see him struggle to give his team consistent minutes when on the floor.

Hezonja also has some attitude issues, which would go completely against the high-character players Rob Hennigan and co. have drafted the previous three years.

The big concern for Hezonja is going to be finding a place where he can play consistently and be able to potentially produce at a high level. He has all of the physical tools to be a very good wing in the NBA, and a shot that could match-up with almost anyone. However, if he isn't fully bought in, drafting him would be a huge risk.

Last season, only three Magic players who played consistent minutes finished with a shooting percentage over 36.4 percent from beyond the arc: Channing Frye, Evan Fournier, and Harris. With Hezonja's strong shooting ability -- he shot over 38 percent in European competition and over 36 percent in Spanish league contests -- bringing him aboard could give the Magic another floor spacer and shooter. He could, realistically, start at small forward should Harris walk in free agency, or come off the bench with Fournier and give the Magic's second unit even more punch.

With a glaring need for a rim protector still looming, it could be hard to completely justify selecting Hezonja, much like it would be to select Willie Cauley-Stein due to his offensive shortcomings. With the Magic's stable full of wings, drafting Hezonja and clogging up the rotation might also be something they want to avoid.

Considering all the different factors that come into play with Hezonja, it might be in the best interest of the Magic to pass on him. With free agents like Mike Dunleavy and Danny Green available this offseason, the Magic could go out and find adequate shooters, while addressing different concerns with the fifth pick.

Keep up with all of our Magic coverage