This rookie class has been headlined by Ricky Rubio and Kyrie Irving so far into the season and rightfully so. Both are leading candidates right now for rookie of the year and it looks like they’ll take the battle to the very end. With Irving and Rubio impressing everyone’s eyes so far, the past draft in the NBA doesn’t look as weak as many basketball junkies and hipsters, including myself, had originally perceived it to be.
Other than Irving and Rubio, on the back-end there have been some real surprises like Marshon Brooks,Chandler Parsons, and and even Brandon Knight. The rookies have been a pleasant surprise to me and I’m sure the same goes for a lot of you. Especially guys like Parsons and Brooks who have made their way into their respective team’s starting line ups.
As a Wizards fan, though, I’d like to talk about Jan Vesely. Jan hadn’t gotten a lot of playing time during the Flip Saunders era in DC, which ended just yesterday, but when he did and his rhythm was established he showed many people why he was the 6th overall pick in the past years draft.
More and more Vesely looks like a true lottery pick to me. Some of his rookie mistakes bother me but other times his potential just flashes out to me and a lot of other viewers.
The first thing that sticks out is Vesely’s athleticism. He’s got a long, lanky 6’11 frame and runs the floor with high energy. He provides the jolt that the Wizards second unit needs at time on the boards and in the paint. Jan never gives up on a play; he’s constantly trying to get his hands on the ball for his team; especially on the offensive end. According to Hoopdata.com Jan grabs 11 percent of the team’s offensive rebound when he’s on the floor. That’s pretty good for a rook that only plays 11 minutes a game, wouldn’t you agree?
The next thing that will catch your eye is Vesely’s defense. He doesn’t give up much through the post when he plays–in fact, according to Synergy, Vesely has only given up 5 baskets out of 15 attempts by the opponent. Last night, versus the Bobcats, Vesely had two straight possessions where he made a defensive play funneling to the fast-break. On the first attempt he blocked a lay up by Kemba Walker and that resulted in a blown possession by the Wizards. On the second instance, Kemba Walker threw up an ugly floater that didn’t even catch rim because of Vesely’s length. On the offensive end this resulted in a fast break opportunity for John Wall and Andray Blatche–the end result was 2 points and Andray Blatche’s first dunk of the game(after 4 of the pervious attempts were blocked).
Vesely brings the type of energy and enthusiasm that the Washington Wizards need. 11 minutes per game so far this season is not enough;Flip Saunders should’ve given Vesely more time. In all of Washington’s wins this season Jan has averaged 18 minutes per game. In the losses that he’s been available for? Only 7 minutes. The only loss where he played over 18 was against the Rockets where he played very well.In 24 minutes Vesely had shot 3-4 from the field and also registered 6 rebounds–4 offensive–on the day.
Jan reminds me of a Joakim Noah or an Anderson Varejao type of player. He brings a lot of energy to the team and never quits on any possessions. What I would like to see him do is develop a true NBA body; without one so far this season a lot of people have been able to body him in the post. Also, his post moves could use some refining on the offensive end–though Jan is very good at passing out of the post and finding deep position in the paint. A back to the basket player is critical for this young Wizards team and their floor spacing. If Vesely can produce in the paint and in the post it would open up so many doors.
Hopefully for the Wizards Vesely pans out. If you ask me, I think he deserves the chance to play 20-25 minutes per game. Let him take his lumps and learn the NBA game. All indications by coach Randy Wittman have shown that he will play Jan more so he can earn some playing time. I think he’ll perform well and eventually be a starting caliber power forward in the NBA.
Lets wrap this up with a bang, shall we? Toast to the Czech.