Why the Sacramento Kings should or shouldn't draft Mario Hezonja.
Mario Hezonja – G/F, Barcelona
Size: 6-foot-8, 200 pounds
2014-15 ACB, Euroleague stats: 5.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.1 blocks, 1.1 turnovers in 15.4 minutes (54 games).
Why he fits
Hezonja can provide the Sacramento Kings an essential boost in the outside scoring department. The Croatian is equally lethal shooting the ball with his feet set or off the dribble. Hezonja is impressively massive for a two-guard and strong enough to hold his own on the floor as an NBA rookie.
Though inconsistent, Hezonja has shown he can dominate on the defensive end with intense on-ball pressure and split-second lateral instincts. His lean stature disguises core strength that he uses to body up opponents. If given a positive environment to grow, Hezonja could form into the Kings’ biggest international star since Peja Stojakovic.
Why he doesn’t fit
The Kings may charge a fee for Hezonja’s baggage. The 20-year-old sports a brash ego which could raise tensions in an NBA locker room. His overzealousness has already hurt his game in the form of poor shot selection and lapses in defensive focus.
If Sacramento can accept his attitude, they’ll need to ante up some cash. FC Barcelona holds the rights to Hezonja for four more years, so a buyout this year will cost over $2 million. The Kings or any NBA team are allowed to offer up to $500,000 towards an international buyout, which makes the wing’s immediate future in the states murky.
Drafting Hezonja would put an end to one or both the tenures of Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas. McLemore and Hezonja share similar pro ceilings, making the move to add the explosive Croatian questionable.
Likelihood he’s available
Good. Hezonja’s superstar potential may force a club ahead of the Kings to take the chance, but ignorable obstacles like his buyout and maturity will scare plenty of general managers away. If drafting for need, a top five lotter team can go with the safer wing option in Duke’s Justise Winslow.
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