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After just one year in Portland, Hezonja is packing his bags once again, and he'll join the Grizzlies for the 2020-21 season. The Croatian forward played the smallest role of his career with the Blazers last season, logging just 16.4 minutes and making only four appearances in the starting lineup. He averaged career lows in points (4.8) and assists (0.9), while playing sparingly for a talented Portland team with many viable options on the roster. Hezonja may have a difficult time matching the minutes he saw in Portland, as he'll have even more competition in Memphis' young and ascending roster. At forward, he'll likely come off the bench behind Kyle Anderson, Justice Winslow, Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke. That leaves little time for meaningful minutes, and Hezonja is unlikely to make a fantasy impact this season. He can be left undrafted even in deeper leagues.
Hezonja recorded career-high averages in rebounds (4.1) and assists (1.5) in 2018-19. However, he also appeared in a career-low 58 games, logged career-worst percentages from beyond the arc (27.6) and the charity stripe (76.3) and amassed his lowest blocks average (0.1) through four seasons. Hezonja has developed a reputation for being inconsistent, with the negatives seemingly outweighing the positives at this point. Even still, the Trail Blazers picked Hezonja up this offseason, and there aren't a lot of wings on the roster who are clearly ahead of him on the depth chart. This iteration of the Blazers figures to be the best team Hezonja has ever played for, so it's possible he'll improve both his efficiency and production thanks to the playmaking of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Still, Hezonja has only shown flashes thus far, and if he fails to produce there won't necessarily be ample opportunities on a team that projects to be as competitive as Portland. As a result, he's a risky player to bet on in fantasy drafts.
The fifth overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, Hezonja put together a few very pedestrian seasons to start his career, which prompted the Magic to decline his fourth-year option prior to the 2017-18 campaign. As expected, Hezonja started the year off as a minor contributor and over the first 20 games of the season, he averaged just 2.9 points and 1.8 rebounds across 9.8 minutes. However, in mid-December the Magic finally started to get him integrated into the rotation more and 23-year-old eventually became a significant piece of the rotation, mainly due to the fact that star power forward Aaron Gordon was dealing with injuries. In the final 55 games of the year, Hezonja nearly tripled his workload with 26.5 minutes and went on to average 12.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 three-pointers. That prompted him to have plenty of suitors this offseason and likely made the Magic regret declining his option. Hezonja now heads to New York where he'll likely operate as one of the first bigs off the bench. There's a chance the Knicks opt to throw Kevin Knox, the team's ninth overall pick this year, into the fire early and give him rights to the starting power forward job. Still, the rookie will likely deal with some growing pains, which should allow Hezonja to get on the court quite a bit at both small forward and power forward. A workload in the mid-to-low 20's seems realistic, which should keep his numbers fairly close to the stat line he posted in his final year with Orlando. That means Hezonja is likely worth a look in the later rounds of deeper leagues as a player that can contribute solid, but not spectacular numbers across the box score.
After being selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Hezonja has been a huge disappoint for the Magic. In the 2016-17 season specifically, Hezonja actually saw his playing time fall from 17.8 minutes to just 14.8, which translated to averages of 4.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.0 assist. The shooting guard shot a meager 29.9 percent from the three-point line, which is well below average for a player of his position. He ultimately lost the trust of coach Frank Vogel and fell into a deep reserve role on the wing. That certainly won't be helped during the upcoming campaign with the addition of first-round pick Jonathan Issac and free agent pick-up Jonathon Simmons. Look for Hezonja's role to remain unchanged and potentially even fall once again, unless he puts together a strong training camp. That should keep him off the Fantasy radar in the majority of formats.
Hezonja was coveted by many teams heading into the 2015 NBA Draft after showcasing a bundle of athleticism and three-point shooting ability while playing for Spanish club FC Barcelona, but it was the Magic who were able to reel him in with the fifth overall pick. As a rookie, the 21-year-old from Croatia was a rotation player from Day 1 under former Magic coach Scott Skiles, but was brought along slowly, earning increased playing time in each successive month of the season. He concluded the year with three double-digit scoring performances in a row, capping off his first-year campaign with averages of 6.1 points (on 43.3% shooting), 2.2 boards, 1.4 assists and 0.8 three-pointers in 17.9 minutes per game. While Hezonja exhibited flashes of being a viable starter down the road and seemed to gain confidence as the season wore on, consistency was a problem for him, which is often the case for many young players. The upcoming campaign should prove more revelatory for Hezonja, as the Magic will be counting on him to turn more of his potential into actual production that can help the team win. With few competent three-point shooters on the Magic roster beyond Evan Fournier, Hezonja could settle in as the sixth or seventh man for new coach Frank Vogel. Hezonja’s draft pedigree and the expectation that he’ll tap into some more of his considerable upside will make him a decent dart late in fantasy drafts.
Hezonja became the highest-drafted Croatian player when the Magic selected him fifth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. In the week leading up to the draft, Hezonja completed his best season with FC Barcelona in the Euroleague. Over 66 international contests, he provided 5.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 three-pointers in 15 minutes per game last year. Heralded as a knockdown shooter, Hezonja converted 39 percent of his three-pointers on the shortened international three-point line, nearly two feet closer from above the break. He struggled with the NBA line during summer league, connecting on 4-of-14 tries over two games. Hezonja also showed an ability to get to the basket and stick his man on defense. Aside from adjusting to the extended arc, the 20-year-old forward offers the Magic elite athleticism and extreme cockiness, two attributes that escape the stat sheet. Hezonja doesn't project as a starter for two reasons: the Magic are stacked with young, talented wings, and new Magic coach Scott Skiles possesses a track record of minimizing rookie responsibility. He'll compete with fellow international teammate Evan Fournier for playing time off the bench.