After finishing in the bottom-third of the league in scoring last season, the Magic opted to go with an offensive-minded player in Mario Hezonja out of the ACB in Spain. Hezonja will be able to step onto the court and contribute on offense next to Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton.
The Magic ranked 27th in the league in offensive efficiency last season and 25th in points per game at 95.7 so selecting a player like Hezonja seemed ideal to help increase the offensive production. For his play overseas, Hezonja averaged 13.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per 36 minutes and shot 38 percent from three-point range. This is a player that could potentially be one of the best players out of this draft class down the road and it’s easy to see why the Magic grabbed him. At 6’8, he’s a player that can handle the ball well and create his own shot. He’s able to attack off of the dribble and get to the basket. The Magic have desperately needed a player that can create his own shot and get to the rim, and addressed that by picking Hezonja.
It’s unclear exactly what role Hezonja will fill with this team as there are several players ahead of him on the depth chart. Equally, drafting Hezonja will create an interesting situation now with Tobias Harris. Hezonja could end up being Harris’ potential replacement should the team opt not to match an offer for him in restricted free agency. Harris finished third on the team in scoring last season with 17.1 points per game, so Hezonja’s arrival could potentially help replace Harris’ production.
In each of the Magic’s previous drafts under general manager Rob Hennigan, the team opted to select defensive-minded players, but it appears they decided to go with a more offensive-oriented player in Hezonja. With defensive players on the team in Oladipo, Payton and Gordon, selecting Hezonja makes sense. Hezonja brings one of the biggest personalities of the draft to the team as he’s been known to showboat a bit at times, but he brings a swagger to the team that perhaps no other Magic player has.
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