Latvian Kristaps Porzingis and Croatian Mario Hezonja were selected with the fourth and fifth picks of the 2015 NBA Draft in the early hours of this morning in New York.
Seville’s Porzingis was chosen by the New York Knicks, while Barcelona’s Hezonja was selected by the Orlando Magic.
It is predicted that Porzingis could potentially stay in Europe for another season or two, despite a high draft pick, as his lack of aggression through his overall confidence could see him struggle for minutes and thus linger on the Knicks bench.
He may look like a 5 at first sight, but Porzingis will need to be molded as a stretch 4 to have a successful NBA career. He has potential as an offensive threat, but will need to learn to stop relying on his height and long arms to bail him out on defense and rebounding. If he gains strength to finish inside, his upside is very high.
Hezonja is NBA ready in body but far from it in mind. A endless array of talent and potential could see him on the Magic’s roster from next season, but they will look to focus on his attitude and general lack of focus when he doesn’t start well.
Hezonja is an extremely gifted player with a bright future. One of his most noticeable traits is his swagger, which can ultimately be the reason he excels or busts. It is a gift and curse. He’ll need the right coach to help him channel that attitude towards driving his competitiveness rather than focusing on glitz and glamor. One huge plus on Hezonja’s side is that he is the most offensively polished wing in the Draft, which could entice teams who are in win-now mode.
The other international picks saw the San Antonio Spurs select Partizan’s Nikola Milutinov with the 26th pick to see out the first round.
Cleveland Cavaliers selected Anadolu Efes’ Cedi Osman with the first pick of the second round at 31, Philadelphia 76ers chose Seville’s Willy Hernangomez at pick number 35, with the Charlotte Hornets picked Estudiantes’ Juan Vaulet.
The second round of international talent was rounded off by Daniel Diez going to the Utah Jazz, a hat-trick of Seville stars saw Nikola Radicevic head to Denver, Olympiacos’ Dimitris Agravanis selected by Atlanta and with the very last pick of the second round, Red Star’s Luka Mitrovic go to the 76ers.