This Year's Jan Vesely : TAI Wizards Player Previews 2013-14 | Wizards Blog Truth About

This Year’s Jan Vesely : TAI Wizards Player Previews 2013-14

Updated: October 28, 2013

[Truth About player previews of Washington Wizards in 2013-14 — For each player on this year’s roster of 15, we take a look at what’s at stake, an interesting statistic, and finally, where that player needs to improve (or excel) to make successful contributions toward a playoff goal.]

Preview Index:

Eric Maynor via Conor DirksGarrett Temple via Adam McGinnis;
Otto Porter via Adam RubinGlen Rice, Jr. via Rashad Mobley;
Trevor Ariza via John C. TownsendTrevor Booker via Adam Rubin;
Al Harrington via Kyle WeidieChris Singleton via Adam McGinnis;
Kevin Seraphin via Sean FaganMartell Webster via John C. Townsend;
Jan Vesely via Kyle Weidie & Lukas KubaNene Hilario via Rashad Mobley;
Marcin Gortat/Emeka Okafor via Sean Fagan;
Bradley Beal via Kyle WeidieJohn Wall via Conor Dirks.

[Bags are packed. -- via instagram/24janvesely]

[Bags are packed. — via instagram/24janvesely]


–by Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

What’s at stake? Living in America. And we’re not talking about the James Brown song that was featured in Rocky IV.

The ‘will they or won’t they?’ question has been answered. And that answer is no, the Wizards will not pick up the fourth-year, $4.2 million option on Jan Vesely’s rookie deal. The same Jan Vesely who was taken sixth overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. The same Jan Vesely who was hand-picked to run with John Wall a year after the Wizards drafted him first overall. This piece of super embarrassing news came out in the wake of Washington’s trade for Marcin Gortat and not many people noticed off the bat. If they even care.



I once assumed that the Wizards would pick up Vesely’s option. Part as a bit of continued encouragement for the youngster from the Czech Republic, part to save themselves the embarrassment of not doing so. I was wrong. Despite encouraging showings at the Las Vegas NBA Summer League and at EuroBasket 2013, Vesely looked pretty bad this preseason, mostly in terms of his confidence and ability to fit in on an NBA floor. Cleveland Cavaliers television analyst Austin Carr remarked during the Wizards-Cavs preseason contest: “The way he’s playing, his next contract is going to be in Europe; he’s not engaged in NBA ball.” (Worth noting that Carr also said he didn’t know Bradley Beal was a shooter during the broadcast … so grains of salt, but you get the point—Vesely’s next contract, in Europe, could come in about 10 months.)

Of course, none of this is to say that Vesely is a guaranteed goner. He’s on the team this year and is getting paid $3.3 million for whatever services he can offer. If he shows something, anything, the Wizards could still find a way to keep him going forward (for much cheaper) despite declining to pick up his option at this juncture.

What’s at stake? Absolutely everything, including the basketball hopes and dreams of an entire country, the Czech Republic. Good luck, Jan.


–by Lukas Kuba (@Luke_Mellow)

I didn’t get the chance to watch the last Wizards preseason game against the Cavaliers. I was hoping “Honza” Vesely would get some meaningful playing time and make the case to be part of the rotation. Pipe dream of mine? The next morning, to my eternal dismay, I read some of Kyle Weidie’s tweets about Vesely’s play, including what Austin Carr said. So, not exactly a fun last few weeks for the Airwolf (nor fans of Airwolf). As far as Vesely’s fourth-year rookie contract option being exercised is concerned, at the start of the training camp I was quite sure that the Wizards would ended up picking it up. Now, I can’t blame the team for declining to do so.

After a horrible sophomore season, the dragon Vesely is trying to slay in order to stay in the NBA has an overwhelming upper-hand. Ever heard about the fiery dragon with seven heads?

Random fans around the NBA are always going to ridicule Jan about his free throw woes and the rate at which he picks up personal fouls (the ‘Will Vesely’s fouls > points?’ query).

The pertinent question might be: has there ever been a relevant NBA player of Vesely’s height who fouled as much AND shot so poorly from the charity stripe?

Let’s turn to the machine! The criteria: NBA big men since 1946-47; between 6-foot-11 to 7-foot in height; less than 601 total regular season minutes; less than a .308 free throw shooting percentage; and more than 2.1 fouls per game. The results (sorted by descending points per game): 

  • Jan Vesely / 2012-13 / WAS / 51 games played / 2.4 RPG / 2.5 PPG
  • Stacey King / 1996-97 / BOS & DAL / 11 games played / 2.5 RPG / 2.2 PPG
  • Keith Tower / 1996-97 / MIL / 5 games played / 1.8 RPG / 1.4 PPG
  • Clifford Rozier / 1997-98 / MIN / 6 games played / 1.0 RPG / 1.0 PPG
  • Jamal Sampson / 2005-06 / SAC / 12 games played / 1.5 RPG / 0.8 PPG
  • Joe Wolf / 1998-99 / CHH / 3 games played / 0.3 RPG / 0.0 PPG

Intriguing names for a basketball junkie, huh?

Joe Wolf was an NBA journeyman, drafted 13th overall in 1987. He began his career with four very solid regular season campaigns (career highs: 7.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG), then fell off the cliff as his playing time opportunities waned.

Jamal Sampson had a brief cup of coffee with several NBA teams (five seasons, five teams). Honestly at first look, his overall stats look very Vesely-esque.

Clifford Rozier, drafted 16th overall in 1994, had a promising rookie season for the Warriors, then regressed significantly during his second season, played a bit better next year, and was out of the league after four seasons. Sounds familiar, no?

Keith Tower, an undrafted and a forgettable player, played a total of 53 NBA games and nowadays is a senior pastor at the High Point Church in Orlando, Florida (via Wikipedia).

Stacey King, a 6th overall pick (just like Honza) in the 1989 NBA Draft by the Bulls, is the most accomplished player out of this group, winning three championship rings thanks to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. He did provide some valuable minutes at center during the playoffs, but bottom line, after an optimistic rookie year his career would never pan out to anything—he posted season-high per game averages of 7.9 points, 4.9 rebounds. You could say King never became the player he should’ve become, the same phrase people now begin to use while talking about Vesely (it should also be noted King was a much better free throw shooter than Jan).

What’s Jan Vesely’s NBA destiny? I’m rooting for him, so I definitely don’t want him to be Clifford Rozier 2.0. A Czech Stacey King without the ring? Who knows. Let’s just hope Honza beats the odds and kills his dragon, whatever that might mean.


–by Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


I really shouldn’t write much more than that. Thought about repeating the word ‘confidence’ a bunch of times, but it’s not worth it. Look, Vesely can stand to improve in a ton of areas, but if he can’t even get past his demons at that the free throw line, there’s little hope.

OK, that may be a bit unfair. There have been great players who have had trouble at the line. Hell, Tim Duncan is a career 69 percent shooter from the line and dipped below 60 percent his seventh year in the league (then somehow shot above 80 percent last season, his 16th). Chris Webber was a career 65 percent shooter from the line and never shot above 60 percent during his time with the Bullets/Wizards.

I’m digressing. I also don’t think Vesely’s dream of the NBA is dead. But he must show more passion. As stupid as reacting to extracurricular activity or provoking from opponenets is, Vesely still cannot let Anthony Bennett commit a flagrant foul on him in a preseason game and not react in some manner, even if just for show as referees and teammates break up any potential fisticuffs. Vesely can’t let guys like Tyler Hansbrough bully him. (Remember this GIF? ‘I’m going to f*ck him up!,’ said Psycho-T about Vesely.) And Vesely simply cannot foul a dude and then try to help him up like a nice guy only to get in an awkward pushing exchange with tough guy Quincy Acy. Maybe Jan can learn a thing or two from a new teammate who is called the “Polish Hammer.”

Jan Vesely has to stop being such a kitten. Until then, the NBA is too junkyard and nasty for the schoolyard, boyish charm of dull John.

[Honza in Brazil. -- via instagram/24janvesely]

[Honza in Brazil. — via instagram/24janvesely]

[Jan Vesely and Dad Vesely. -- via instagram/24janvesely]

[Jan Vesely and Dad Vesely. — via instagram/24janvesely]

[Little Air Wolf Riding Hood. -- via instagram/24janvesely]

[Little Air Wolf Riding Hood. — via instagram/24janvesely]

Previous Vesely Nuggets
from the Czech Republic

Czech-language shaky video with Honza and translation nuggets…


  • “I’m careful on social media, I don’t post any photos or tweets which would be viewed as agitating or would be against something.”
  • “It took two, three days to shoot the [We started our fight with Jan Vesely Facebook Identity Thefts] video, we shot it in Prague on Charles Bridge and in LA.”
  • “I wasn’t surprised [that Tomas Satoransky won Czech Basketball Player of the Year award], I wanted him to win it, I’m only glad that he won. If Saty wins more [BPoY] awards in the future, it’ll be only good.”
  • “One cannot withstand being with Saty. (laughs) But I’m used to it, I’ve known him for a long time, I know how how he behaves, it’s all in good fun.”

A September 6 chat session between Czech fans and Vesely…


Vesely on what position he feels best at, where he thinks he’s most useful for a team:

“I don’t care about my position on the floor. It depends on how I fit into the system of the coach, but I try to give everything I have, in order to do the maximum at the particular position.”

Were there any Wizards scouts or team front office personnel at EuroBasket? What were their reactions on your performances?

“One person from the Wizards is here with me. Yesterday I had seven calls with people from the Wizards front office, and with John Wall, too. The support from them is nice.”

Vesely on whether the signing of Al Harrington is a low blow from the Wizards:

“I don’t think it’s a low blow. It’s just another motivator for me to get better and fight for a chance to play.”

A reader opined Vesely wouldn’t make it in the NBA, but that he could imagine Jan being a star in the Euroleague. Jan’s response:

“I think I didn’t get the right opportunity in the NBA yet.”

Vesely on whether he wants to be big fish in a small pond (Serbia) or small fish in a big pond (NBA)?

“It’s a super feeling to be a big fish in a big pond, so I’ll try to work in order to swim in that big pond like big fish. :-)”

In the Wizards locker room, who’s the coolest guy and who’s the biggest pain-in-the-ass?

“The most sympathetic and coolest guy in the Wizards locker room is Martell Webster. He always tries to do fun stuff and he keeps a positive atmosphere.”

Vesely on if he thinks a trade would be good for him:

“A trade is not on the agenda. I try to focus on the EuroBasket and then on the season with the Wizards.”

Vesely on whether he works more on his jump shot or big man skills:

“I work on shooting from distance and on the big man skills, too.”

Vesely on whether he uses an inner thigh foam roller for regeneration:

“A foam roller is a super thing. I use it before every practice and game. It’s great for regeneration.”

Vesely on what he’s doing in his free time … any hobbies or non-basketball activities?

“I don’t have much free time. When I do I like watching movies, playing video games, but I try to rest and sleep as much as possible.”

Vesely on how he’s spending his off-the-court time at EuroBasket:

“We’re staying in a wellness hotel. We got hot tubs here, so I can use them to relax.”

Vesely on how many people from the Jan Vesely Fans fan club are present at EuroBasket:

“The fan club is large… it has about 10 people. :-)”

Jan Vesely, Sr.: “Summer of Hard Work Paid Off for Honza”

{via September 10, 2013 interview with Dad Vesely via}

Jan Vesely, Sr. on his son’s play at the EuroBasket:

“Personally, I‘m excited from his performances. I didn‘t expect him coming into the role of a leader [so easily] and that he’d be so good at that. The two-month workouts in America definitely helped this, he worked hard with a personal coach out there and thereby is in such a great game shape now. After an unsuccessful NBA season, we are only glad that he’s doing so good and is a leader of our national team. Especially in the game against Georgia, you could see that he helped light the fire under his teammates, who started playing a lot better then.”

On how Vesely’s performances at Eurobasket could help him in the next NBA season:

“Surely, it should help him. After the game with Poland, we went out for dinner with Honza—me, Honza, his Slovenian personal coach [Mirsad Alilovic] and a manager from the Wizards front office who was over to take a look at Honza, so [the Wizards] definitely follow the tournament. Moreover, Jan got a call from the Wizards head coach [Randy Wittman] and John Wall called him as well to give him support. The question is how much he’s able to carry this game groove over to the NBA season, if he gets the playing time to show what he’s doing here. I believe that he definitely can continue to have performances like these in America. Again, it’s just whether he gets enough playing time to show it.”

On the small forward and center positions:

“I think that Honza doesn’t fit at center as much as some people say. It took him a long time to get used to playing there. You could see that when he was guarding Marc Gasol, I think that he defended him great, but still, Marc outweighed him by 20-30 kilograms. He has to counter that with his speed, drives to the basket. And when his shot is falling, it’s very tough for a defender to guard him at this position. But I think Honza should play more on the wing, he recently added a good back-to-the-basket game to his repertoire and at small forward he’d be unguardable in the low-post. I mean, his coaches could use this as Honza’s weapon a little more. Likewise in the NBA, he could fit in at small forward more [than at center]; he’s got speed to defend those swingmen.”

On Honza’s confidence:

“As it is with all players, it’s about the mental state of the head for Honza, too. He has to understand that he has to shoot some shots to score points and then it’ll be fine. I told him this many times when I visited him in Washington, that when he shoots three times per game and, out of those three, one shot goes in, then it’s difficult to have a good scoring number. I’ve seen the statistics of his teammates, say one of them shot 6-of-13 and maybe even worse. It’s just simply about not being afraid and trying to shoot. When he misses twice, he’s gotta shoot another one and believe it will go in and hopefully get hot. When he played for Partizan, he shot more, because he had maximum trust from the head coach. He knew that when he misses two, three shots, he can shoot the fourth one, too.”

On the summer workouts in USA:

“He really has been working hard during the summer. Besides working out in the gym and outside, he spent lots of time in the weight room, too. He was always afraid that if he gained lots of muscle mass then he’d lose some of his speed and athleticism. And I think that over the summer he managed to add some pounds of muscle, but he didn’t lose any of his explosiveness and speed. It definitely helps him now in being able to wrestle at the center position with players such as [Marcin] Gortat from Poland.”

On Vesely’s desire to represent the Czech Republic:

“For Honza, this [EuroBasket] tournament motivated him to show that he has what it takes to play at a high level. Last summer, the media kept writing that he doesn’t want to play for the national team, a lot of people reproached him for that, but he just got that kind of advice from the Wizards front office people. This summer, he wanted to try a different path, he believed that he can prepare for the next NBA season by playing at EuroBasket. He knew that not only he could help the national team, but he could help himself as well. He’s a patriot, playing for the national team was always a great honor for him.”

On whether Tomas “Saty”  Satoransky will be Honza’s teammate on the Wizards:

“Saty’s playing excellent here, but I think it’ll be very hard for him to get to that team, especially now when Washington signed an experienced backup point guard [Eric Maynor] who should cover John Wall’s back. We’ll see next year.”

On Honza Vesely’s continual popularity with Slovenian basketball fans:

“The interest in Honza is still high. People here still remember that he played near Celje, in Ljubljana [for Geoplin Slovan in 2007-2008]. Even media interest is high. He got calls from several Slovenian sportswriters and they asked him for an interview.”

Lukas Kuba