For the first time in his career, Jan Vesely is finally looking like an NBA player. He’s been in and out of Randy Wittman’s doghouse this season, but it seems like his confidence has elevated his performance and he’s earned a rotation spot for the Wizards.
Vesely has benefited from playing along side John Wall possibly more than anyone else on the team, but he’s also grown a lot as a player since the Wizards acquired Marcin Gortat through trade. Vesely hasn’t looked this comfortable on the basketball court since the NBA Summer League and Eurobasket and it seems like he’s finally getting comfortable with playing an energy role off the bench.
Besides being a disruptive defender and hustling on the glass, Vesely has surprisingly done a better job with the ball in his hands this season than in years past. He’s obviously worked a lot on his offense in the offseason, but it’s definitely still a bit shocking to see him make moves in the post, considering that virtually all of us wrote him off at the start of the season.
He finished the game with a season high 12 points to go along side 7 rebounds and he really helped the Wizards gain control of the game in the first half. Washington isolated Vesely in the post several times and he actually managed to score off a sweeping hook shot. He also pinned his defender down underneath the basket, resulting in an easy lay-in for Vesely. Take a look at his shot chart from last night against the New Orleans Pelicans:
Of course, the Pelicans are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, so I don’t expect Vesely to score double-digit points every single game. Vesely is the type of player that everyone wants to succeed, especially when seeing how much he struggled during his first two seasons in the NBA. Even though he’ll never live up to his draft slot, Vesely has become a solid contributor for a team that’s hoping to remain one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve actually grown to like Jan Vesely’s game. There were times where I absolutely couldn’t stand watching him play and he seems to have grown from his extended stints in Wittman’s doghouse. If he keeps playing with the energy he played with last night, I think we’ll continue to see a lot more of the Airwolf.