Tomas Satoransky and a bearded Jan Vesely's Czech Republic team beat Poland, 69-68, in a thrilling Eurobasket game. After falling down 14 early on, the Czech Republic battled back and, after a brief scare, won the game on a last second three pointer from Lubos Barton. Vesely and Satoransky were the unquestioned best players on the Czech team, with Vesely in particular looking completely dominant on the way to finishing with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 4 steals. He also helped to hold Marcin Gortat to five points and nine rebounds, an impressive feat considering the Polish Hammer's size and strength.
Vesely had some highs and lows but for the most part played like Summer League Jan as opposed to Regular Season Jan. He struggled early on, especially when he was guarding the much more physical Marcin Gortat, but really turned it on through the final three quarters of the game. His statline was good but what his motor and aggressiveness were what really shined through. He repeatedly attempted to draw contact around the rim, fight for rebounds and hustled out in transition. He was more or less the player Washington drafted him to be and there's absolutely nothing preventing him from playing like that in the NBA.
Satoransky looks like he's a year away from being ready to come over. He's improved since the last time most of us saw him (Summer League 2011). He didn't take a lot of jumpers so it's hard to read too much into his accuracy. He's definitely improved his handle and flashed a surprisingly advanced in between game. After looking like just a run and jump guy a few years ago, Satoransky demonstrated a knack for finding teammates around the basket both in transition and the halfcourt. He was also able to make plays off the dribble coming out of a few halfcourt sets, a very good sign considering that he'll likely play a lot of minutes next to the undersized Bradley Beal once he finally makes his way over to the States. Realistically he could probably play five or ten minutes a night as a fourth guard right now but if he continues to improve at his current pace, he could be a very solid backup combo guard (on a rookie contract) in 2014.
A few other notes
- Satoransky left the game early with an injury but it didn't seem too serious. Vesely tried to be more assertive with his running mate out but that's not his game and the results weren't great. Even if he maxes out his potential, he's always going to be a guy who gets the overwhelming majority of his points off of cuts and putbacks.
- Satoransky was dominant in the second half and the Czech Republic likely wouldn't have needed Barton's three pointer to win the game if he hadn't been forced to come out.
- Marcel Lampe's last name is pronounced "Lamp-uh".
- The Czech men's team can run and jump with the best of them and really excels in the halfcourt. That's not surprising considering the presence of Vesely and Satoransky but it's always nice to have suspicions confirmed.
- As good as Vesely was, he's not going to make the shots he made today on a regular basis. He hit quite a few tricky shots from about five feet away from the basket, a distance that pretty much everyone not named Al Jefferson, Chris Paul or Tony Parker struggles to shoot over 50 percent from.
- Something Welsch for the Czech Republic is pretty good. Almost every notable play not involving Vesely, Satoransky or Barton involved him.
- The guy who hit the game-winning shot, Barton, looks almost exactly like Robert LaSardo.