[Ed. Note: With the NBA basketball season just around the corner, TAI's Czech correspondent, Lukas Kuba, provides an update/translation of a recent interview that Jan Vesely gave to sport.ihned.cz. —Kyle W.]
“Tutoring session on tie knots.” -@JanVesely24 via Instagram
After one NBA season of not being able to live together in the same city, Jan Vesely now lives in Washington, D.C. with his fiancee, Eva Kodouskova. When asked about their free time activities, he says that they usually go to a restaurant or one of the numerous Washington museums. Jan says that sometimes people recognize him on the street, but not very often. And what about going to movies? In D.C., Vesely says he went to see a movie just once because he’s not too impressed with the ‘American cinema system,’ where a person does not buy tickets for particular seats. “I came late and had to sit in a bad seat,” he says.
[Ed. Note: A recent tweet from Vesely indicated that he an Eva enjoyed a meal at Bistro Bohem, located on Florida Avenue near the U Street corridor. —KW]
Truth About It.net will turn a whole five years old at the end of this October.
Hard to believe/interesting. Nonetheless, over the life of the site from the 2007-08 season to 2011-12, we’ve seen/lived/suffered through 131 wins, 263 losses, four coaches, two owners, one GM/team president, one Phil Chenier mustache removal, and 56 total players (amazingly, 48 players over the last three seasons).
You may have heard of ESPN’s #NBArank project, now in year two. Now hear of #WizardsRank, where we rank each of those 56 players during Truth About It.net’s five-year run.
TAI anonymously polled 27 members of the Wizards pixel establishment — from mainstream media to new media, TAI staffers included, to a few pixel consumers (readers of the site) — and got 17 responses.
No need denying that Jan Vesely’s Czech language interviews are a treat for me (and hopefully for you, too). He always seems to share lots of golden nuggets from the world of Wizards. In a lengthy June interview with Czech Basketmag titled, “Boozer always he blows me away,” there was a lot of the same stuff Vesely already mentioned in earlier interviews after the regular season. But, it’s not a Jan Czech interview without some money quotes (also seen via my @Luke_Mellow Twitter feed):
“I’d like to play the SF, and when I’ll work hard then I hope in that return [to SF from PF].” #vesely
Jan Vesely lets the jumpers fly at Wizards summer mini-camp day one (with a cameo from Bradley Beal).
“I’m not thinking about to show anything, I’m just happy to play and I will try to do my best on the court and try to get the wins.”
Those were Jan Vesely’s words on Monday afternoon when asked what he wanted to show the team about his game this summer. The quote was so him. Vesely plays just to play, not for display.
The Vesely we saw flashes of last year is that instinctual, always-around-the-basketball guy. He doesn’t have to show the game, he knows it. Still, people expect to see something new, even if Jan claims he isn’t thinking about showing anything.
[NOTE: Truth About It.net 2011-12 Player Reviews continue, where we take a look at the past, present and future of those players who have touched the Wizards franchise during the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season. Now, we take a look at Washington's most recent lottery pick in a line of many. That's right... Jan Vesely. TAI's Lukas Kuba, Adam McGinnis, Sam Permutt, and John Converse Townsend take a gander at Jan's rookie campaign. -Kyle W.]
Jan Vesely didn’t score the 100th point on Sunday, Washington ended up with just 98 in their win against the Pistons (77 points), but he did end up with the play of the night. We talked about people getting down on Vesely in a recent post, and it’s those people who need to keep their eyes on sequences like in the video above. Again, Vesely is already the best Wizards big man at defending the high pick-and-roll, even more evident in him getting the steal from Detroit’s Will Bynum. But the scene of Vesely’s ability to run the floor with Wall, them sharing with each other until Jan ends up with the dunk, is a sign of things to come from the Czech rookie. No, he’s not a dazzling stud of a 6th overall pick, but he could develop into a defensive player as solid as Joakim Noah, but perhaps more athletic. Now wouldn’t that be nice to have at that draft position?
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said he would release it on DVD, but footage of Washington Wizards rookies singing karaoke last Wednesday remains unseen. Still, it was the talk of the Verizon Center on Media Day Thursday.
Flashback to the Tuesday before, Wizards rookie guard Shelvin Mack was asked if he had been hazed yet, and if he had a song ready to sing (as singing in front of an audience is tradition for team rooks during training camp).
“I had to get some donuts, it wasn’t too bad, but I haven’t had to sing anything in front of anyone … I got one [song] prepared just in case they try to pop one out on me.”
That “in case” happened during dinner at Hill Country Barbecue Market near DC’s Chinatown/Penn Quarter section. Mack, along with fellow rookies Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, were made to bellow out tunes, karaoke style. According to Leonsis, Vesely brought the house down with a Serbian polka, while Andray Blatche revealed that the Singleton and Mack duo butchered a rap song.
[Jan Vesely works on his shooting form with Flip and Ryan Saunders. - photo: K. Weidie]
Many folks are naturally a bit more curious about Jan Vesely than others on this Wizards team, and that includes the likes of John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee. Reason being, not many have seen the sixth overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft in a setting outside of his role as the “Dunking Ninja” on YouTube. They want to know if he’s up to NBA snuff.
The fair warning is that expectations of Vesely should be immediately tempered. This is not to discourage potential, nor preemptively quell disappointment. It’s just that there are a myriad of factors as to why Vesely’s integration into a pro basketball team in the nation’s capital will take some time. And that’s okay. We might see a bodacious dunk or two early on, but it also might take 10-15 games (about a sixth of this shortened season) before we see Vesely truly comfortable on an NBA court. Until then, feel free to remain confident in the scouting of Vesely performed by team management which led to his draft selection. He’s got the tools, he just needs to learn how to hammer.
Sabermetrics. They have been a continous hot topic of conversation in modern sports circles, recently sparked (and fueled) by Jonah Lehrer’s Grantland column, The Math Problem. Lehrer argued that while sabermetrics — the computerized measurement of statistics, in this case basketball data — can be extremely useful at times, the allure of definitive measures of production leads us to ignore the oft-underrated intangibles. Worse, the popular obsession with quantifiable sports values has resulted in shortsighted personnel decisions. The horror!
But this post isn’t about the great paradox of sports statistics nor whether dismissing math in sports is the right call. It’s about how Washington Wizards 2011 draft pick Jan Vesely played on paper — was he a slam dunk in Europe or something less spectacular?
Our friendly neighborhood basketball statistician, ESPN.com’s John Hollinger, has determined that there is a predictable relationship between how a player performs in the Euroleague and how he will compete as a rookie in the Association. When transitioning to the NBA, a Euroleague player’s pace-adjusted per-minute stats will be affected as follows: Read more »
“Basketball in my country is not so popular, but after this night, I think — I hope, that the basketball will be more popular. I will do my best to help that.” -Jan Vesely, Draft Night 2011
Jan Vesely wants to put Czech Republic basketball on the map. Good luck.
“The Czech media have been really lame covering the story,” direct-messaged Yon Pulkrabek via Twitter. I’d sent out a tweet wondering if any follower spoke Czech, and the instant world of the Internet connected us.
Pulkrabek says he’s lived in Prague permanently for the past decade, working as a translator, journalist, and editor. He grew up in upstate New York to Czech émigré parents and has been a fan of the Boston Celtics since the 1980s, keeping up with their recent success thanks to League Pass, streaming web video and his DVR. Now, Pulkrabek has taken an obvious interest in the Washington Wizards.