His season was delayed as he missed nearly three weeks of action because of a hip injury. Former coach Flip Saunders tried to ease Vesely into the rotation, giving him spot minutes to provide just enough high-energy and highlight plays to leave fans craving more. Veteran Rashard Lewis has started calling Vesely a “kangaroo” because “he’s always bouncing around all over the place.”
Vesely doesn’t try to play outside of what he is. A noted dunker, he has taken 34 field goal attempts — but only six outside of three feet. After watching Vesely add six points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in just 19 minutes in his first game as coach, Wittman decided to give him his first start in Houston.
Vesely played well in the first half, scoring five of the Wizards’ first seven points, including a rapid, two-hand putback dunk on a Wall miss and a spin move and layup. But he didn’t score the rest of the game, and Rockets forward Luis Scola abused him, scoring 19 points in just three quarters. Scola neutralized Vesely’s strengths — length, quickness and athleticism — by using a more measured, disciplined means to attack him with baseline jumpers and jump hooks.
“Me throwing him in there against Scola, probably wasn’t the nicest thing for me to do,” Wittman said with a chuckle. “But this is a kid that can handle something like that. He’s got a very good, strong mind. He’s going to file that. We’re done facing Houston, but I’m sure when he faces Scola, he’s going to understand what he has to do differently. This is just a learning process for him.”
Vesely said he learned from getting schooled by Scola. “He’s a very, very smart player. He’s a little bit stronger than me, so it was nice experience. And I hope I will get another one with him.
“It is my first year in the NBA, so it was a surprise to me,” Vesely said of moving into the starting lineup. “It’s nothing new to me. It’s just different world I have to get used to. I just try to play hard every time, if I come from bench or starting first lineup.”