Note: This is the latest installment in a ten-part series on the top storylines facing the Wizards this season. Check CSNwashington.com daily for additional entries.
Going into their second seasons as pro basketball players, high hopes remain for Wizards' forwards Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton to be bigger factors this year. Both players mustimproveand contribute more this season for the Wizards to have a shot at turning around their fortunes.
First-round picks in 2011, Vesely and Singleton both struggled through their rookie years as the team had a forgettable season, going 20-46.
Singleton gained a lot of experience, averaging 5 points and 4 rebounds in 51 starts last year. The 6'-9"Singletonshowed flashes of why he was a first-round draft pick but just wasn't productive enough offensively for a starting small forward, shooting just 37 percent from the field. Singleton settled far too often for jumpers andseemedgun-shy about attacking the basket. Singleton is a solid defender and has a nose for blocking shots. If he can get more confidence in his offensive game he should be pushing likely starter Trevor Ariza for more playing time.
"I underachieved in a lot of areas," Singleton said after last season, "but we've got a bright future."
The 6'-11" Vesely came off the bench for most of his rookie year and scored 4 points a game to go with 5 rebounds while playing both the small and power forwardpositions.Veselyshowed he can run the floor and finish near the rim at times, but he must add an outside touch this season.
Veselyrarely attempted a jump shot last season, scoring rather by a fast-break dunk or a put-back layup off an offensive rebound.Heonly shot 53 percent from the free-throw line and you could tell by watching his attempts that he has a ways to go to get better from any distance beyond five feet.Vesely will bring energy off the bench but he also has to bring a jumper so he can keep defenders on their heels.
Vesely and Singleton both got crucial experienceplaying summer league ball, something they couldn't do ayearago because of the lockout.
"I feel I am ready for a full season because we could stay in D.C. and work out with the coaches," Vesely said on media day. "I played summer league, too, and it was good experience for me to get me ready for training camp."
When asked what he worked on this off-season, Vesely was quick to respond -- his jumper.
"I just wanted to focus on my shooting style, just with my feet and hands. I just worked as much as I can on my outside shot," he saId.
With a better understandingof what to expect this time around, count on Vesely and Singleton to be more productive this season. They have to be for the Wizards to be more competitive this season.