Jan Vesely – My Draft Nightmare, 2011Posted: June 21, 2011
This is the first NBA draft in a while where there is only one realistic scenario that would make me less optimistic and happy about being a Wizards fan than I was going into the draft. Literally every other rumored scenario makes me at least a little happy and enthused. Unfortunately for me, and for Wizards fans everywhere, this scenario seems to be the most likely outcome for the sixth pick on Thursday night. What I’m talking about is if the Washington Wizards select Partizan combo forward Jan Vesely.
I say this because the focus of his scouting report by almost every source is all that is wrong with player evaluation in the NBA. The reason is his scouting report relies entirely on his perceived level of elite athleticism. Athleticism is fine, but only when it gets you something. There have been plenty of ridiculously athletic players through the years who give you nearly nothing on the court (See: Nick Young). There have also been plenty of not exceptionally athletic players that give you everything on the court (See: Kevin Love). Athleticism can help a player produce on the court but they must have basketball skills to go with that athleticism. I’m pretty sure Kevin Durant rated as one of the worst athletes in his draft, but man does he have skills. The question that Ty Willihnganz asked over at his blog The Courtside Analyst still needs answering, “When will people learn that athleticism wins track meets, basketball skills win basketball games?”
The top three traits Chad Ford has under Jan Vesely’s draft profile on ESPN are “Leaping,” “Size,” and “Motor.” All of these things are physical measurable’s. When we look at his statistics you see that he is a poor rebounder, terrible shooter (especially from the free throw line), he isn’t a passer. I just don’t see any real on the court production by Vesely. All I hear is that he gets minutes playing at a high level in Europe and has elite athleticism. None of this necessarily means anything on the court. You don’t get extra point for fancy dunks and highlight reel plays. At 21, he is also two years older than other options in Enes Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas, Alec Burks, and Kawhi Leonard. Age should be taken into consideration, according to this study.
Who is my player comparison for Jan Vesely? Joe Alexander. That doesn’t excite me in any way. Joe’s an athletic freak, but he couldn’t actually play the game. His best case scenario is probably a Thad Young type.
P.S. I don’t always agree with John Hollinger but for whatever it’s worth his Player Rater agrees with me.
UPDATE: ESPN’s Chad Ford has reported that the Wizards may be trying to trade up with the Cavaliers (have also heard rumors about trading with the Jazz). If they manage to trade up and draft Enes Kanter I will be elated. It’ll be possibly my happiest Wizards fandom moment ever.