Orlando Magic Player Evaluations: Mario Hezonja

Oct 8, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward C.J. Fair (12) dribbles the ball around Orlando Magic forward Mario Hezonja (23) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers won 97-92. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward C.J. Fair (12) dribbles the ball around Orlando Magic forward Mario Hezonja (23) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers won 97-92. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mario Hezonja, Orlando Magic, Trey Burke, Utah Jazz
Nov 13, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Mario Hezonja (23) shoots over Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke (3) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

2017 Outlook

Hezonja is an important player for the Magic’s future. The frustration this season might have been with his production, but the Magic probably were pleased with his progression as they expected him to move along slowly.

It was a good thing that Hezonja was not happy with his progress and wanted more, but fully admitted he had more work to do.

Many often say the biggest growth for a player comes between his rookie and second years. The Magic will be expecting Hezonja to make that big leap. They will expect Hezonja to be a key contributor to the roster next season and play a role — likely off the bench, but open to being a starter if he takes that big leap.

That means Hezonja has to improve his strength and become better on the ball. He cannot get pushed around on either end.

He has to continue making his shot more comfortable and consistent. But a lot of that comes from confidence. Next year, the coaches need to invest a lot in his development in games and trust him with a role.

That starts with Hezonja doing his part and putting in the work this offseason to improve his individual game. By all accounts, he seems committed to doing that. He talked constantly about the work and improvement that would be ahead of him to make it in this league. He knew the first year would be a learning process.

Next year, Hezonja has to put together what he learned. If Hezonja can become a consistent option off the bench — even a Sixth Man — he will make the growth the Magic want to see.

Next: Final Grade