Tomas Satoransky made it to the U.S. of A.
“I didn’t expect it,” said teammate and fellow Czech Jan Vesely on Monday from Wizards summer mini-camp, “but am very happy that he’s here and that we can play together.”
Satoransky has actually been stateside plenty — attending the pre-draft combine in Chicago; workouts with the Cavaliers, Bucks, Warriors, and Wizards before the draft; training in Los Angeles under the guidance of his agency — but now he’s here for competition.
Vesely is excited to play with his basketball buddy of the last six years, practically giddy at the thought of unleashing the duo’s built chemistry on the Las Vegas NBA Summer League. (Well, as giddy as Jan can get under his American media shell.)
“He likes to pass the ball, he likes to find open guys, especially on the alley-oops,” said Jan when asked to describe Satoransky’s game, that last part with a bit of a smile. “He can run and he can dunk.”
After his pre-draft workout in Washington, Satoransky went as far as to say he’d beat Vesely in a dunk contest. Jan disagrees.
“You need to ask him, but I will beat him for sure,” joked Vesely on Monday.
SheridanHoops.com describes the 6-foot-7 Satoransky as, “more Shaun Livingston than he is Jan Vesely.”
But in Vegas, will the Wizards aim to use him as a point guard? A combo guard?
“That’s what we’re trying to find out,” said head coach Randy Wittman. The Wizards hope that Satoransky’s jumper progresses enough where he can be a shooter or a playmaker off the ball, next to a guy like John Wall. As you can see from the video above, Satoransky can stoke it nicely against no defense — when he holds his follow-through and limits the distance between his jump and landing positions.
Satoransky is supposed to be an athlete, but there will dozens upon dozens of athletes in Vegas; many of them better. He’ll have to compensate with smarts and composure, something he’s looked to hone over the past two seasons while playing in Spain’s ACB League, one of the better pro basketball leagues outside of the NBA.
Intrigue can be found in almost every Wizards summer leaguer. Guys are playing for another chance (in some cases, their last), just like every year. Young team members — Shelvin Mack, Chris Singleton and Vesely — want to show improvement to the games people have seen. Bradley Beal is the new rookie stud, who’s been exposed by a big-time college program and the draft.
But no one has really seen Satoransky. Intriguing. Even Wittman said, “I’ve got to get familiar with him. To sit here and answer [a question about whether he's a 1 or a 2 or both] I’d blowing some smoke right now. I’ve got to find out who he is.”
Most Wizards fans seem to be lukewarm to downright salty about the presence of “Saty,” turned off by the mere drafting of a European player who needs development. He has a tough crowd to please, even if he was selected in the second round with the 32nd overall pick.
For many, impressions of a player whom they might not see again for a year or two (“EuroStash”) could be cemented over the next 10 days. There’s going to be a magnifying glass on Satoransky in the Vegas heat, and he doesn’t even know it.