For the first time in a while, two of the league’s marquee franchises – the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks – made top-five choices, so there was plenty of intrigue and even more drama surrounding this draft than others. Karl-Anthony Towns went No. 1 overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves, giving that organization the past three top picks and plenty of hope going forward. But after that, the Lakers really put the draft in motion. This night wasn’t only about the selections but also the trades. Teams wanted to move up. Some wanted to move back.
Mario Hezonja | SG | Croatia – Orlando Magic
The Magic took Mario Herzonja, a Croatian sharpshooter with plenty of moxie. Herzonja is arguably the best shooter in the draft and provides an element sorely missed on an athletic team with few players capable of spreading the floor. New Coach Scott Skiles should enjoy having him around because Herzonja’s confidence will be contagious for an up-and-coming team with some young, talented pieces. – Michael Lee
What he brings: A role player in Europe loaded with significant upside, Hezonja is an international prospect for the millennial generation. He converts effortlessly from beyond the arc, attempting nearly two-thirds of his attempts from deep and the uber-athletic 6-foot-8 Hezonja gets buckets in a hurry. There could be an adjustment period – his handle needs work – but Hezonja’s shooting sets him apart in this lottery.
As the draft begins to wade into the territory of players who have not been talked about ad-nauseum in the last few weeks, the Orlando Magic drafted Croatia’s Mario Hezonja with the No. 5 pick.
Known for an abundance of confidence, Hezonja played professionally for FC Barcelona. The rumors that Hezonja’s camp had been working overtime to force him to Detroit were either false, failed, or have yet to be announced.
“Respect? No, I never had respect to anybody on a basketball court. 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.”