Wizards player review: Jan Vesely

Wizards player review: Jan Vesely
May 6, 2012, 5:13 pm
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As we saw in those YouTube clips before the Wizards drafted him last summer, Jan Vesely could run the break and dunk the ball in impressive fashion. The knock on him was that's all he could do -- dunk -- and for the most part, that's all he did in his rookie season in Washington.

Vesely averaged 4 points and 4 rebounds in 57 games but, like the Wizards, Vesely closed out strong.

Vesely scored in double figures in 7 of the final 15 games in April, highlighted by a career-high 16 points and 6 rebounds in a win over Charlotte. Vesely followed up that performance with 7 points and 12 rebounds in a victory against Cleveland. In a game in mid-April against a Milwaukee team still in the hunt for the playoffs, Vesely scored 8 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had 3 assists.

Vesely has been praised by the coaching staff for his high basketball IQ and he does have a pass-first mentality. Now if he could just work on his shot.

Vesely rarely attempted a jump shot, scoring rather by a fast-break dunk or a put-back layup off an offensive rebound. Vesely only 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.

The Wizards hired a shooting coach during training camp to help Vesely with his form, specifically with his hand and fingertip placement on the ball. Vesely even wore a contraption in practice to keep his thumb from being too close to his index finger when he shot.

Unfortunately, that didn't seem to help.

Drafted 6th overall by the Wizards, the 6'-10 forward got off to a slow start his rookie season with a hip injury, causing him to miss the first six games of the season.

Once healthy, it took Vesely time to get acclimated and involved with his new teammates. Once he did, Vesely would every now and then finish with a crowd-pleasing dunk.

Late in the year Vesely's game got better and he showed at times why the Wizards were so enamored to take him in the lottery out of the Czech Republic.

This summer, Vesely has to get up thousands of shots a day to try to improve his jumper. He can't be just a dunk-shot artist but he must add a jumper to keep defenders honest.

Vesely is athletic and can dunk, but that's like 90 percent of the players in the NBA. Vesely can separate himself from the pack by adding another dimension to his game besides dunking.