With the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards selected 21-year-old big man Jan Vesely from the Czech Republic. [Just judging from the kiss he got from a female by his side, I'd say Jan might have an attractive girlfriend.]
Vesely is 6'11" and 230-240 pounds, though he mostly plays on the perimeter. Vesely is a gifted athlete who can really run the floor, handle the ball and shoot from the outside, including the NBA 3-point line. He's known as a high-energy player who doesn't rest on the court and can be counted on to deliver a good effort every night out.
Vesely will probably swing between the quick and power forward slots, where the Wizards have big needs. The team has no real starter at quick forward and Andray Blatche, who starts at power forward, disappointed the team badly last year by returning from a summertime injury overweight and spending much of the season floating on the perimeter instead of battling in the paint.
Here is what some commentators say about Vesely:
Chad Ford [ESPN]: The Wizards have been focused on Jan Vesely for months. He's an elite athlete who flies up and down the floor and loves to dunk the basketball. Washington thinks he is a great fit in an up-tempo offense with John Wall and JaVale McGee. He should be really fun to watch.
Sports Illustrated: "Very athletic, high-energy player. He's probably the most NBA-ready athlete from Europe [we've seen] in a long time. He's probably like a '4/3' [power forward, small forward]. He gets up and down the floor, is really good in transition and finishes. [Utah small forward Andrei Kirilenko] is a good comparison: He's out in transition, good hands, making moves, dunking it. If Vesely develops, he has the tools to one day be [as good as Kirilenko] -- if not an All-Star, then close."
ESPN: Vesely is a terrific athlete who has played major minutes on a Euroleague team the past two seasons. He has already announced he'll be in the draft. Many scouts think he's the most NBA-ready European player out there and a likely top-10 pick.
Fox Sports: Vesely isn't your typical European; he's super athletic with incredible length and has good toughness. Wizards fans should be thrilled thinking of John Wall and Vesely running the fast break for years to come. Maurice Evans and Larry Owens played over 33 minutes per game for the Wiz last year... so yeah, Vesely fills a need.
On the other hand, Vesely's athleticism shines through with the way he was able to convert opportunities around the basket, shooting 74% from the field in these situations, first in this group.
Not surprisingly, Vesely ranks amongst the most effective finishers off cuts (3rd), offensive rebounds (2nd), post-ups (3rd) and in transition (6th).
If Vesely can shore up his ball-handling and perimeter shooting ability, he has all the makings of an incredibly versatile player.
NBA Draft.net: Strengths: Possesses a terrific combination of size and length for the SF position ... Offensively, he improved his low post game and is looking to post up more this year; he can post up smaller defenders and uses his height advantage to score over defenders; has a height/length advantage on almost every player in Europe ... Jan has good motor and excellent ability to run the floor (most of his points are off of dunks, put-backs and points in transition) ... Good hands around the basket ... Facing up to the basket, he is able to get to the rim quickly due to his quickness and good first step. Very explosive off the floor when attacking the bucket and finishes strong ... As a shooter he improved since last year and feels more confident taking shots outside the 3pt line and creating off the dribble; his mechanics and follow-through look fluid; good elevation on his shot ... If he catches the ball and his feet are set and pointed towards the basket he usually will knock down shots ... Defensively he is good, thanks to his length and can guard multiple positions ... His lateral quickness is impressive for his size and he does a solid job at moving his feet (good P&R defender and closes well on the perimeter staying in front of guards) ... Plays with lot of emotion ... A competitive player that hustles for loose balls and brings energy on the court ...
Weaknesses: Vesely needs to continue improving his offensive skills. He's still a work in progress as a player as his athleticism and "wow plays" exceed his effectiveness and consistency ... He has had a decent season but more was expected from him coming into the year ... He is limited to one or two dribbles when creating off the dribble and needs to improve his 1-on-1 game and ball-handling skills ... Has to become more efficient/consistent shooter overall (50% FG, 46% FT, 46.3% 3FG in Euroleague and 74.1 % FG, 51% FT, 31.8% 3FG in NLB League) ... Hasn't added any weight since last year and will have to get stronger in order to compete in the NBA; still has trouble finishing plays under pressure ... Has strength and athleticism but not productive enough as a rebounder (4.4 rpg in NLB League and only 2.9 rpg in Euroleague) ... Could run into some problems fitting into an NBA position as his length slows him some on the perimeter in the half court set and he lacks the strength and toughness to play in the paint right now ...