2015 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Mario Hezonja

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Prospect Overview: 

Measurables (Courtesy of Draftexpress.com): 6’8″, 200 lbs, 2/25/1995 (20 years old) 

Mario Hezonja was born in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He made his professional debut in his home country when he was 14 years old. He impressed on the international level when he was featured in the 2011 Jordan Brand Classic. Hezonja joined FC Barcelona prior the 2012-2013 season on a multi-year contract. Considering Barcelona’s reputation as one of the premiere basketball organizations outside of the NBA, Hezonja’s arrival and multi-year pact with the club spoke volumes about his potential as farms a possible future star.

Especially over his last two seasons playing on Barcelona’s top team, Hezonja has emerged as one of the top international talents, regardless of age. Especially given the European style of play, which doesn’t often cater toward individual showcasing and inflated stats, Hezonja took advantage of every opportunity he had to do so which landed him on the NBA’s radar. Hezonja has also benefited from strong showing in international competition, starring for the Croatian National teams despite often being several years younger than his teammates.

After passing up on the opportunity to enter the 2014 Draft and possibly challenge his countryman Dario Saric for the top international prospect in the class, Hezonja returned to Barcelona for one additional season before declaring earlier this spring. There are even some who speculate that Hezonja’s minutes with his professional club, mired in activity through the entirety of the pre-draft process, are being diminished due to his coach’s dissatisfaction with Hezonja’s decision. That hasn’t stopped Hezonja from providing highlight-reel moments such as this. (h/t @maxrappaport)

The expectation is that, unlike Saric, Hezonja won’t have to deal with any sort of lingering contract issues and could come over and play in the United States immediately following the completion of Barcelona’s season. The team drafting Hezonja will have to pay a substantial buyout of the remainder of his deal, but won’t deal with the roadblocks that the Sixers have had to deal with Saric’s team. This is a major factor in Hezonja’s ‘stock’, given how teams most likely want him to adjust to the NBA game as soon as possible.