Magic Draft Mario Hezonja at No. 5

The 6'8" Croatian SG is an elite shooter and athlete who played for Barcelona

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The Orlando Magic selected Mario Hezonja with the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Hezonja, 20, is a big perimeter player who can shoot, play multiple positions and finish above the rim. He shot 38 percent from three in both the Spanish ACB (41 games) and Euroleague (22 games) this season.

He should be an immediate contributor for the Magic.

Hezonja didn’t receive the amount of playing time he deserved in Barcelona (he averaged about 15 minutes per game). This was mainly because the team was deep at his positions (2 and 3) and Barcelona’s defensive-minded coach had little tolerance for Hezonja’s mental lapses.

He has the physical tools to become an excellent defender, but it will take some time. Like most 19 and 20-year-olds, he struggled this year with his defensive awareness, positioning and rotations. But if he receives some good coaching and puts in the effort, he should develop into a good defender.

When Hezonja did play, he showed his explosive scoring ability. He maded 8-of-8 three-pointers in one ACB game, and he hit five 3s against Real Madrid — the best team in Europe — on three separate occasions.

In Game 1 of the ACB Finals, he became the youngest player ever (20 years, 3 months) to score at least 18 points in a Finals game.

For more on what Hezonja faces in his ACB-to-NBA transition, check out this article, featuring interviews with Ricky Rubio, Kristaps Porzingis and more.

Austin Green runs from Madrid, Spain with the occasional help of his friends and colleagues.


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