2015 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Mario Hezonja

6 of 6

Final Verdict: 

One of the elements of Sam Hinkie’s draft strategy over the past two seasons that is most captivating is his tendency to go for the ‘home run’. Joel Embiid may end up being better than both Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker when all is said and done. He also may re-injure his foot or back and become the next Greg Oden. Everything about Hinkie’s strategy as an executive to this point has hinged on the potential benefits of taking calculated risks, knowing the consequences should he fail.

Mario Hezonja is this year’s ‘home run’ prospect, in my opinion. A wing player with good size, elite athleticism and shooting ability, and an ‘it-factor’ makes his ceiling the most tantalizing from the Sixers point of view. If every player in the class were to live up to his potential, it would be hard to argue against Hezonja not being one of the three best players in the class, if not the best.

As is the case with Mudiay, the Sixers are among the teams best prepared to weigh the possible decision of whether or not to draft Hezonja. For this reason, I would have a tough time disputing that decision. He possesses a skill set that is missing from the team’s current roster, would eventually be playing alongside Dario Saric, and would be coached by a man with substantial experience working at the international level. Of the teams in the lottery capable of picking Hezonja, I imagine the Sixers would be the team with the highest pick who might actually pull the trigger.

One of the biggest takeaways from the Sixers locking down the 3rd overall selection on lottery night was the consensus thought that, should Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor go off the board, they would be able to take an exceptional talent without having to adjust their lottery-laden front court. The tricky part after that, should the top-two picks go as planned, is the task of identifying one of the 5-6 players the front office might consider worthy of the third selection.

All things even, I believe Mario Hezonja has warranted inclusion in that group and could see Hinkie walking away from draft night with ‘Super Mario’ under his belt.