Randy Wittman has been dispensing harsh truths about Jan Vesely’s confidence level for weeks.
“He needs to work on his head first,” Wittman said after the season. “There are sometimes, I see Jan and he’s flying all around and I say, ‘That’s Jan.’ Other times, he’s shying away when he doesn’t have the confidence, and that’s his main thing. I’m not smart enough to tell you I’ve got the answer to fix that. But we’re going to work on him. I mean, in trying to help him become a more confident player.”
Wittman sounded a similar, if slightly more evocative, note on Tuesday evening. Sitting in with the announcing crew during NBA TV’s’s broadcast of the Wizards-Nuggets Summer League game, Wittman was again asked about the third-year Czech.
“Well, you know, he’s got to play with confidence,” the coach said. (Listen here.) He’s got great length, great size, speed. Defensively he gets in passing lanes. He’s got to believe in himself. And coming from overseas when we picked him, he had never played this caliber of basketball before. And I think he’s gone through, a couple times, situations here early on where he doesn’t believe in himself. And let me tell you what, you can be the best basketball player; if you don’t have confidence, you aren’t going to be worth a crap. And that’s kind of what he’s been.”
Of course, you have to wonder whether too many laments about Vesely’s lack of confidence might wind up being a confidence issue themselves, making confidence the problem whose name one cannot speak, for fear of further confidence damage. Maybe they all need a code-word for this issue, something a bit light-hearted, something that would indicate that the team wants Vesely to be secure in his position and strong in his self-belief, but that coaches don’t think this is a weakness or a blemish, just an area for growth and self-actualization. Tell him, in other words, to up the steez.
“What kind of confidence, what are you trying to build personally during the Summer League?” Sager asked.
“I just work hard before the Summer League,” Vesely replied. “And I just want to try to take this chance to see how the last month goes, and just sit after Summer League and see what I have to continue doing. I think it’s a pretty good chance to work and see how to play and take this chance.”