WASHINGTON, D.C. - It wasn't exactly Jan Vesely's best moment in Wizards training camp, but it was an example of what the rookie still needs to improve, so we're rolling with it. He had John Wall pinned on his back five feet from his basket in the post and got a pass in from the top of the key. The easy play was to turn and shoot over Wall.
Instead, he faded away and had his shot blocked, something he has a tendency to do, Flip Saunders said later.
"He’s got really good form," Saunders said. "He just has a tendency, he fades a little bit and loses his concentration."
Indeed, progress might be slow for Vesely this season, based on what we've seen the first few days of training camp. He's done well when he's been asked to play instinctively, but you can tell there are times where the wheels are still turning in his head. He admitted on Monday that he's still getting adjusted to the speed of the game.
"Yeah, a little bit. I'm think every day I'm getting into better shape, so I think it'll get easier," he said.Before you freak out, though, understand that this all makes sense. The European game is so different from the NBA, something Vesely freely admitted on Monday. The shortened training camp hurts too, since it's less time for him to develop game experience. Finally, for now, there's plenty of depth at Vesely's position, so the Wizards are able to hone his fundamentals and develop him a little slower than most No. 6 overall picks.
That's all why Saunders doesn't seem concerned. Unlike Vesely, he doesn't think speed of the game is an issue.
"Of all of our players, he has great feel for the game. He really understands, passes the ball extremely well, makes the extra pass, knows when to hold it and when to get rid of it. The speed of the game, that' not his problem. That's his forte, as far as getting up and down," Saunders said. "For him, it's just working on his fundamentals, working on his shooting, all of those things. But as far as speed of the game, he's got that."
Vesely's been staying late to work on his free-throw shooting and develop consistency. When he's playing off the ball, he makes good cuts. When he's playing defense, he generally does well. It's when he has the ball and is asked to make a play that he seems to struggle.
The Wizards believe that'll come. It just might not come right away.