Jan Vesely: Lost Cause?


(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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.