The absence of injured point guard John Wall — taken with the first overall pick of the 2010 draft — has greatly contributed to the Wizards getting off to a franchise-worst 5-28 start this season, but Vesely, the sixth overall pick in 2011, and Singleton, the 18th pick, are also foundering in their second seasons. Mack, the 34th selection, is waiting for another shot in the NBA.
The Wizards picked up third-year options for Vesely and Singleton before this season, an obvious indication the organization was expecting that both players would build upon the occasional promise displayed during maligned, lockout-shortened rookie campaigns. But Singleton now occupies a spot in Coach Randy Wittman’s doghouse that was previously reserved for Vesely, who had more fouls than points or rebounds through the first 31 games.
“Obviously, there have been struggles there. I’m not going to lie,” Wittman said recently when asked about Vesely and Singleton. “They’ve got to continue to work and we’ll continue to work with them.”
Vesely, a 7-foot forward from the Czech Republic, had his best game of the season on Monday during the Wizards’ 101-99 victory over Oklahoma City as he scored 10 points, grabbed seven rebounds and showed the high-flying energy and hustle that led the Wizards to believe he would be the perfect complement to a Wall-led up-tempo offense.
“Jan has played the way I want to see him play these last couple of games,” Wittman said. “He’s got to keep at a consistent level, the energy, the flying around, the running the floor, the offensive rebounding, defending, deflections. That’s who he is.”
Wall is expected to make his season debut on Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks, which should help Vesely, a player who lacks the ability to create his own offense but runs the floor well. Vesely admitted that his game has been affected by not having Wall around to direct traffic and look for him for fast-break lob dunks or his quick cuts to the basket, but he wouldn’t use it as the only excuse for averaging just 2.7 points and 2.5 rebounds — inferior numbers to his rookie season.
“It affects a little bit, but was all my fault. I wasn't ready. I wasn’t focused on the games,” said Vesely, who now has 68 points, 63 rebounds and 60 fouls this season. “Sometimes I try to do something I should not do, but I try to work on my game every day. It’s hard losing so many games and stay positive and stay confident.”