In time, Mario Hezonja could rate as the steal of the 2015 NBA draft. Undoubtedly, he’ll tell you that time is now and he’s more than ready to seize it.
At just 20-years-old, but with pro experience already under his belt from playing in Europe, Hezonja is convinced he’s ready for the grind and spotlight of today’s NBA.
“Respect? No, I never had respect to anybody on a basketball court,” the Croatian sharpshooter recently told reporters. “I heard about, ‘If they smell blood, you get eaten.’ I’m not like that. I don’t care. Whether it’s a veteran or a young player standing in front of me I always have the same goal. I want to run over everybody.”
With that kind of disposition, Orlando Magic officials can’t decide which they love more: his attitude or his abilities. But they do believe he’s a good bet in helping the Magic improve this season, and that he certainly could be an influencing factor for a potential increase in the demand for tickets to see Orlando home games. According to Ticketbis, the average ticket price for a Magic home game was $108.53 this past season. Without question, he was a main draw in the past for those wanting to see Regal FC Barcelona games.
“We feel like his skillset, whether it be his ability to make a shot, his ability to score, his athletic ability, we feel it fits in well with our current roster,” said Magic GM Rob Hennigan.
Whatever the Magic need, Hezonja, who knocked down 37 percent of his three pointers over the last two seasons for Spanish power Barcelona FC, feels he’s the man for the job. His motto seems simple, ‘you can’t do if you don’t believe you can’ and Mario Hezonja seems to hold an unbreakable confidence when it comes to his own abilities.
Scouts easily rate him the most versatile shooter of the draft, one capable of spotting up, pulling up off the dribble or coming off screens pretty much anywhere on the floor. When defenses decide to close out on him or play him tight, he’s shown an ability and willingness to attack the rim with either hand and finish strong.
And when his job is done, Hezonja isn’t afraid to let you know it, easily rating as one of his league’s biggest trash talkers. His teammates and coaches call it a killer instinct; Mario Hezonja considers it simply doing what comes naturally to him.