NBA Mock Draft Pick #6 -- Mario Hezonja, Guard, Croatia
With the sixth pick in the 2015 SB Nation Team Site NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers (via the Sacramento Kings) select Mario Hezonja from Barcelona (and native of Croatia).
The Sixers have the luxury of taking risks on talent and taking who, in my opinion, is the best player available and has been for the past few selections. Hezonja has a wealth of talent but was limited to playing a reserve role for much of the season in the Spanish ACB and in Euroleague. He's both a good athlete, standing at 6'8", and a promising off-ball shooter who can space the floor and hit shots off of screens. His talent showed in flashes, and with a rebuilding team offering loads of playing time to any young players who need and/or earn it, Hezonja will get plenty of time to turn flashes into consistent, sustained production. And I like a player who knows he's good and isn't afraid to let you know what he thinks.
Add on that he's played with Dario Saric as part of the Croatian national team, who should join the Sixers in 2016 or 2017, and you have someone who's a perfect fit for this team. We hope to add him this season, along with our player drafted later on at 13.
The Sacramento Kings are in a tough place because they want to get better immediately. A high draft pick, while probably beneficial in the long run, offers no guarantees of success. DeMarcus Cousins will be entering the 2nd year of a 4 year max contract and a new arena is on the way in one more season. Sacramento's goal is to be at least playoff-caliber by that time, and they'll need to be if they want to keep DeMarcus Cousins long term. As such, the Kings were looking for impact players in return for their draft pick.
Sacramento has also been craving a long term solution in the backcourt for a while now (see every Rajon Rondo rumor since Vivek took over the Kings) and Eric Bledsoe provides that. Bledsoe is just 26 years old, locked in for four more years, and gives Sacramento's backcourt an explosiveness that its probably never had before as well as a two way threat. The fact that Bledsoe is already close with DeMarcus Cousins from their college year in Kentucky is just another plus. Losing Darren Collison's quality play and cost-efficient contract was tough, but worth it to replace him with a player of the caliber of Bledsoe. Sacramento tried to include Carl Landry's contract in the deal, but Phoenix preferred Jason Thompson's better fit and his partially unguaranteed 2016-17 contract.
With Cousins, Gay and now Bledsoe, the Kings have a true core to build around and some stability at those positions going forward. Now to add some shooting...
1) Minnesota Timberwolves: KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS
2) Los Angeles Lakers: JAHLIL OKAFOR
3) Phoenix Suns (via Philadelphia 76ers): D'ANGELO RUSSELL
4) New York Knicks: JUSTISE WINSLOW
5) Orlando Magic: WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN
6) Philadelphia 76ers (via the Sacramento Kings): MARIO HEZONJA
10) Miami Heat
11) Indiana Pacers
12) Utah Jazz
13) Phoenix Suns
15) Atlanta Hawks
16) Boston Celtics
17) Milwaukee Bucks
18) Houston Rockets
20) Toronto Raptors
21) Dallas Mavericks
22) Chicago Bulls
27) Los Angeles Lakers
28) Boston Celtics
29) Brooklyn Nets