The first double-double of Jan Vesely’s career came mostly as a result of three important factors: John Wall’s willingness to look for him in the open floor; Vesely’s ability to finish at the rim in unique and athletic ways; and facing a level of competition in Charlotte that is inferior to anything he has seen in the NBA.
Vesely had 11 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and two assists in the Wizards’ 113-85 victory on Monday over the Bobcats and it was another important step in his development as an offensive player. His offensive repertoire is still restricted to layups and dunks, but the rookie forward from the Czech Republic is at least showing a willingness to operate a few feet from the rim.
He took a career high 11 field goal attempts – including a team-high six in the first period – against Charlotte. He also took three shots from beyond seven feet, making one, but he didn’t show the passivity with the ball that often infuriates Coach Randy Wittman.
“Vez has started started to get more aggressive offensively, which we talked about, he and I, and I want to see him continue to do that,” Wittman said.
In his first 42 games, Vesely averaged 3.3 points and 3.4 rebounds and scored at least 10 points just three times. But he has scored in double figures in four of his past six games, starting in place of the injured Trevor Booker, and is averaging 9.5 points on 62.5 percent shooting and 5.8 rebounds over that stretch. He also had a career-high 14 points in a loss to Milwaukee.
Wittman still has to implore Vesely to be more assertive on the offensive end, to ensure that the Wizards aren’t playing four-on-five when they have the ball. Last week against Detroit, Vesely declined to take an open jumper, before he had his pass stolen by Pistons reserve Jonas Jerbko. Wittman threw his hands up and shouted, “Shoot the ball!”
Vesely took just six shots the next night in New Jersey, but he had little choice but to be more involved against Charlotte. He provided several highlight dunks, with Wall feeding him for a lob pass that Vesely flushed over Bismack Biyombo and a lob pass that Vesely guided off the backboard as he got fouled.
Still limited offensively, Vesely has scored 82.2 percent of his 197 points inside the paint this season. He also gets 75 percent of his scoring from assists.
Vesely made his first jumper in Indiana on March 29, and he is beginning to realize that he won’t gain confidence in his jump shot until he takes – and makes – a few. This season, Vesely is just 3 for 24 in shots beyond nine feet, but also 3 for 20 in shots between three and nine feet. He made an eight foot jumper in Charlotte and plans to take a few more.
“I try to work on my offensive skills. I try to put it in the game,” Vesely said.