The Case for Vesely

This isn't intended to be a thorough write-up on Vesely. It is much less analytical (and generally awesome) than the vj110 profiles, which were absolutely fantastic. It's intended to get some discussion going. Oceanary did a nice little piece on Vesely in his "Exchange Rates" post, and The Painted Area also has a good article on him. I'd highly recommend reading both of those. Still, Vesely seems to be a name that doesn't get a whole lot of discussion around here. I'd like to point out a few reasons why perhaps he should.

  1. He's 6'11", but he's a Small Forward. Not a Power Forward, and not a tweener. He played SF for Partizan, and that's the position he'll play in the NBA. He's very fluid and quick on his feet.
  2. He is a fantastic defender. He piles up steals and blocks, and according to the article from The Painted Area linked above, he held opponents to 36% shooting in iso situations, with 1/3 of those possesions ending in a turnover. That is very, very impressive. And remember that this is coming from a 6'11" guy playing SF.
  3. This is opinion of course, but I see his bust potential as extremely low. He's 21 with a proven track record in Europe, a definite position, great size and great athleticism for that position, and a terrific motor. At worst, he's a solid defender with a decent slashing/transition game who can't shoot.
  4. On the flip side, I think his ceiling is as high as anyone in the draft. Size, athleticism, ballhandling, and the will to try tear the rim down any chance he gets. The thing that will probably determine how much superstar potential he has is whether or not he can get his jumpshot sorted out. He's not a particularly good shooter from anywhere at this point. This could wind up being the difference between him being a guy who gives you a little something on the offensive end and him being a guy that can take over for stretches offensively. On defense, a young Andrei Kirilenko (with possibly stronger on ball abilities) is the best I can come up with for a ceiling.
  5. Watch the video and tell me you wouldn't love to see him playing with Rubio

In terms of fit, he wouldn't address our greatest needs (SG and C), but he wouldn't exactly be redundant either. I still like Beasley, but I think there should be plenty of minutes to split between them, especially with Beasley playing some PF. It would actually make a ton of sense to have Vesely start at SF and provide defense, with Beasley playing the 6th man role. Defense and transition ability. We need those things, even if we'd rather get them at C and SG first.

If we stay at #2... is Vesely really that much of a reach? I can tell you right now that if we're using the #2 and keeping the player, I would much, much rather have Vesely than Derrick Williams, Knight, or Kanter.

What I would really like to see is for us to trade down in the 4-8 range, and nab either Biyombo or Vesely. Besides Biyombo being a center and having an awesome name, I'm not sure why he seems to be regarded so much more highly than Vesely on this site (blanket statement alert!). I know Darko sucks and we really, really need someone who can cover up mistakes on defense. I get that. In my opinion though, Vesely has game changing defensive potential (though less than Bismack), and much more offensive potential than Biyombo. Vesely is the guy in this draft who, to me, embodies a safe pick that could turn out to be much, much more. It would not shock me in the least to see him become the best player from this class.

Don't get me wrong folks. I probably love Biyombo as much as anyone here, and would be thrilled if we traded down and nabbed him. I even thought about saying something about having a Biyomboner here, but I won't because it's crude and kids like sbjake read this site.


Jan Vesely MIX - Partizan Belgrade (via JohnnyNUSKNVP)

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