In the first installment of Wiz of Awes’ “Need to See” series, I’ll profile Jan Vesely and what he needs to show this season in order to consider 2014 a success. From Vesely’s performance at Eurobasket, it’s clear that he is not the completely incapable basketball player we’ve endured over the last two years. Good play anywhere is encouraging, but let’s talk about NBA success:
Limited Personal Fouls
You can’t prove yourself on the court if you can’t stay on it.
I’m sure you recall the flak Vesely caught when Mr. Bill Simmons made Vesely’s aptitude for committing fouls well-known. With a simple tweet, the world knew Jan was fouling more often than he was putting the ball in the bucket, and Wizard fans hung their collective head in shame. However, I’m not sure everyone knows how bad it actually was: Vesely averaged over six fouls per 36 minutes, the eight worst mark in the league. This means Vesely couldn’t stay on the floor even if Randy Wittman had actually wanted him there. It’s tough to get extended play time when every five minutes yields a few free attempts for the other team.
Of all his flaws, this should be the easiest to fix. Team defense is of the most difficult for young players to pick up, and Vesely’s late rotations lead to many of his fouls.
A Single Offensive Basketball Skill
This will be depressing to write and read. Vesely has shown not a single noticeable offensive skill in his two years in the league. I’ll never forget how he started the 2012 Summer League with a jumper that beautifully splashed through the twine. He didn’t even think about the shot, and I pleasantly fainted. I hoped that would be the beginning of Confident Jan, but it was nothing more than another meaningless Summer League moment.
That is the only confident move I can recall that wasn’t an open dunk. I’m sure there have been some, but they are too few and far between to be consistent. It’s tough for a team to play four on five offensively, especially a team like the Wizards with only one shot creator. The complete lack of scoring ability outside the paint is okay if Vesely can focus on other ways to be effective.
An immediate point of improvement that comes to mind is on the offensive boards. Vesely is crashing the boards well (although not spectacularly) in Eurobasket, and offensive rebounds lead to easy buckets.
A More Aggressive Nature
Jan Vesely is clearly not an incompetent basketball player. His ability as a passer is not one afforded to those who do not fundamentally understand the game. Confident Vesely is the guy who leads Eurobasket in field goals made, rebounds, and field goal percentage. Confident Vesely is the guy who can take a single dribble to the rim and finishes over smaller defenders and around bigger ones. Confident Jan is (potentially) a competent basketball player.
Will we see Confident Jan this year? Or ever? Jan Vesely without confidence, however, might not be an NBA player. He hasn’t looked like one so far in his career.
What do you guys want to see from Vesely this upcoming NBA season? Let me know in the comment section.