The Wizards had high hopes for Jan Vesely when they drafted the high-flying 6'-10" Czech Republic forward with the 6th overall pick in last summer's draft. The Wizards' brass envisioned Vesely running the break and finishing on the wing off a feed from speedy point guard John Wall. Although that did happen on occasion, it didn't happen enough as Vesely averaged only 4 points and 4 rebounds in 57 games.
Vesely showed he can run the floor at times but he must add more to his game next year in what will be his second NBAseason.
So what must Vesely work on in his game this summer to come back and be a more effective player?
First off,Vesely obviouslyhas to get up thousands of shots a day to try to improve his jumper. New coach Randy Wittmansurelyhas set out a plan for Vesely to put up as many shots as possible ahead of next season. Not only must he get up a ton of jumpers but he also must practice his free throws. Vesely wasjust a 53 percent shooter from the free throw line last season.
The Wizards hired a shooting coach during training camp last year 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.Wittman might want to think about getting Vesely more help this off-season.
Clearly, Vesely has relied on his superior athleticism up to this point of his pro career, but he has to add other elements to his offensiverepertoireother than the dunk. If Vesely can add a jumper, defenses would have to respect and guard him on the outside, leaving open the possibility of Vesely ball-faking and getting to the rim. Adding a jumper could open up a lot of things offensively for Vesely and the Wizards.
Last season, Vesely rarely attempted a jumper, scoring rather by a fast-break dunk or a put-back layup off an offensive rebound. While watching him shoot 53 percent from the free-throw line, you could tell that he has a ways to go to get better from any distance beyond five feet.
Late in the season, Vesely started to show some signs that he could put up some numbers.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, his defense, and hiscommitmentto playing team basketball. Now, he has to improve his shot.
If he can add a touch from the outside, Vesely could become more of a threat offensively. That would benefit everyone.