(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Jan Vesely: Lost Cause?

It’s pretty hard to believe that we’re already into Jan Vesely’s sophomore year. And that’s not a good thing. Frankly, Wizards fans are already losing up hope in the ‘Airwolf’.

The Wizards never have their shortage of fun characters on the roster. Jan Vesely is no exception. Though he seems like a great guy, and even follows me on Twitter, Vesely has been a horrific basketball player. It doesn’t help that Vesely was selected sixth overall in the 2011 NBA draft. I remember vividly having doubt in Vesely’s capabilities before the draft. Hell, even my first ever post on Wiz of Awes expressed my concerns with Vesely.

And here we are, watching Jan Vesely struggle to assimilate into the NBA. We’ve seen little to no improvement from Vesely since he came to Washington from Partizan. His current stats are completely mind boggling, to say the least. Vesely was touted as a young, raw, 6’11 combo forward which will help the Wizards score in transition as well as the defensive end of the floor. With John Wall still out due to injury, Vesely has been nothing but a liability in the Wizards lineup. Granted, Vesely is a great hustler and often does the dirty work, his lack of fundamental basketball skill is very concerning. At one point in the season, Vesely actually had more fouls than points. For our sake, I’m not going to check if that statistic still stands.

Here’s a look at Vesely’s basic stats:

The first thing that pops out is Vesely’s outrageously bad shooting percentages. The vast majority of Vesely’s shots will come from under the basket, so shooting under 41 percent from the field is utterly unacceptable. Sure, once John Wall returns from injury, Vesely’s field goal percentage will most likely increase as Wall will set him up with some easy baskets in transition. But one thing Wall can’t help Vesely with is his free throw percentage. Vesely is currently shooting 24 percent from the free throw line, folks. 24 percent. Need I say more? I’m willing to guarantee that any of us ‘regular Joes’ are able to shoot better than 24 percent from the free throw line. Vesely is leaving points at the free throw line, and it’s unbelievable how an NBA player could be such a bad shooter. I honestly don’t look into stats relatively often, but Vesely’s statistics really tell the tale of the tape.

My question is, why hasn’t Vesely improved from year one to year two?

His terrible percentages and indecisiveness on the court leave me pondering what Vesely actually even practices to improve on. At 6’11, Vesely is quick enough to take most forwards off the dribble. After being drafted, Vesely’s strength was supposed to involve him slashing to the basket since he lacks a jump shot. If you’ve watched a single Wizards game this season, you’ll constantly see Vesely get stranded on an island near the three point line. His indecisiveness with the ball is unfathomable. For a player which was supposed to be able to attack the basket, and use his superior length underneath the basket, I have yet to see Vesely put the ball on the floor.

I don’t think anyone could argue that Jan Vesely has lived up to his spot in the lottery. It’s even tough to argue that Vesely is even an NBA caliber player. I believe Vesely has all the potential in the world to contribute on a winning basketball team, such as the San Antonio Spurs. There’s been times this season in which Vesely has even cracked the starting lineup, only to be replaced by former Wizard, Earl Barron. As of right now, especially with John Wall missing in action, Vesely has been invisible for the Washington Wizards. At this rate, Vesely has surely earned himself a stint in the NBA Developmental League. Having Vesely play some valuable minutes in the Developmental League can do no harm. I can’t see how management can see this as a demotion, on Vesely’s part.

So what do you make of Jan Vesely? Is he a ‘lost cause’? The Wizards don’t have a great track record in developing young players. Should the Wizards look to deal Vesely, as he still has some trade value?

John Wall is Vesely’s only hope for success right now. As much as we miss Wall, I can guarantee that Vesely misses him a lot more than we do.


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  • nich obert

    Actually only 50% of his shots come around the rim, where he is 69%. 15 shots come from 3 to 9 feet, and he has only hit 3. He has taken 35 dunks/lay ups, 2 hooks (made both) and 28 jumpers- made 5.

    Supposedly All Wizards 1st rounders, at least from Wall/Booker/Seraphin on have “No D-league” clauses. That’s a terrible thing, if true. Screams insecurity from the organization while also hinting at massive hubris and awful planning.

    Veselys playing terrible right now, but if you look at his progression last year, he slashed his foul rate and was hitting FTs over 60% in April. In April he averaged 8.5 and 7 in 28 minutes, I think his last 20 games he hit double digit points or boards 13-14 times. Not the most impressive numbers, but light years ahead of what he’s doing now. My point is really just this- he played 5 week stretch where he looked good for a rookie.

    No idea what happened. There were reports of the Wiz trying to get him bulkier, and he looks bigger. And like he lost a step and a half. Ugh. Seems to be over thinking things because he’s slower than he expects to be- very similar to how he looked at the start of his rookie year while injured and struggling to adjust to the speed and physicality of the NBA game.

    When he is going, his game is super instinctive. When he isn’t, he is a totally different guy. Summer league was eye opening. His shot was falling and coming in rhythm, but it’s like he couldn’t adjust to being slow. Now he isn’t even getting those shots right.

    We can afford to be patient with him, IMO they need to go full bore towards finding out if they want him to be more Jared Jeffries (minus dumb 3s) or Anderson Varejao in style. Find a real coach and GM now. Then keep Jan on a tight minute leash while working on him. I think the 2nd part was the plan for this year, but injuries along with both Singleton and Seraphin’s relatively equal regressions as

  • nich obert

    Er, have kboshed that plan.

    Is there any reason he couldn’t gain confidence through a few Wall passes and get out of his own skull? Even a return to April 2012 Jan would multiply his trade value a few times by turning his over aggressive(yet lazy) defensive tendencies into offensive ones. It’d take him 2 dribbles to get to the hoop, maybe 1 from where he gets the ball. God I yearn for even a little bit more of him trying to take it inside, or cutting off of the ball and getting dunks.

    He and Seraphin have a very similar mental block that seems to be the root of their offensive in effectiveness: terror of shooting free throw. Both are capable of shooting 60%, or 6 points per 5 possessions. That would be HUGE for them and us.

    Does Wittman and his wishywashy Wille Lomax act have what it takes to help guys get past their blocks? It’s doubtful. Never forget the mans view of developing Kevin Love was to get him to stop shooting jumpers. That’s Witt in a nutshell. God willing, the team can undo the damage he is causing,