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Spain insurmountable; Vesely respectable

While Spain pretty much dominated this game from start to finish, it was nice to see Jan Vesely holding his own out there.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Hey Wiz fans! And a special hello to you Czech fans! And an even specialer hello to you Czech Wiz fans!

So Spain manhandled Czech Republic today in Eurobasket group play today, as was to be expected. However, one thing that wasn't to be expected was the start time of the game. We had a little scheduling glitch over here at Bullets Forever, but we'll post a recap of Jan Vesely's and Tomas Satoransky's play later today.

Sorry for the scheduling mixup. We hope you can forgive us. We'll be back in a little while with the recap. In the meantime, please enjoy this Jan Vesely dunk mixtape.

Updated at 12:25pm

The first time we see Vesely during the broadcast is when the announcers put up a split screen of him and Marc Gasol and talk about how they're both in the NBA and both really great Eurobasket players. This moment is kind of crazy, and I consider it sort of a mean tease.

The next time we see Vesely, he loses the tip off to Gasol. Spain scores on its first possession (Rudy Fernandex three-pointer), and the first Czech possession ends with a Vesely turnover. Seems about right.

There was one stretch in the second quarter where Czech Republic really closed the gap on an unsuspecting Spain, but Spain picked it back up and took control for basically the rest of the game.

"What does it say about Jan Vesely that Marc Gasol, Spain's leading scorer in the tournament, only has two points?"

Some takeaways from the game about Vesely:
  • He definitely played well under the basket and held his own against reigning NBA DPOY Marc Gasol. Jan finished the game with 14 rebounds (6 offensive), and he earned every one of them. Not all of them were very contested, though. Many of Spain's offensive sets tend to call for spacing all five players around the arc, leaving the paint largely unprotected. When outside shots weren't falling for the Spaniards, Jan was able to take advantage and clean up the glass.
  • Jan was also good at receiving low passes in the paint right around the basket. If that sounds really specific, it really is. There were a few turnovers for other kinds of passes to him in the paint. But we could blame that on Spain's incredible ability to force turnovers. Sure, let's go ahead and do that.
  • Classic positive Vesely stretch in the third: he breaks up a pass on one end, and the ball handler finds him on the other end for a quick dunk.
  • Classic negative Vesely stretch: he misses an alleyoop from Tomas Satoransky. But he's got Marc Gasol guarding him, so can you blame him?
  • One of the Jan-friendliest quotes of the game from the announcers came towards the end of the third quarter after Vesely took a massive charge in the paint from Marc Gasol: "What does it say about Jan Vesely that Marc Gasol, Spain's leading scorer in the tournament, only has two points? Ask yourselves that question." Oh, and then Jiri Welsch scored on the ensuing Czech possession. JIRI WELSCH!
Some Satoransky takeaways:
  • As the announcers kept saying, he was "aggressive" and "assertive," and he had "determination" and "tenacity;" for a guy nursing a shoulder injury, that's not too shabby. He also had a ton of fouls and kept forcing contested jumpers in the paint.
  • With this size and speed, I think Satoransky could definitely play in the NBA. With the passing skills I saw him display in this game, I don't think he could play point guard. He wasn't much of a distributor, and if he's planning to come off the bench to play with a first or second unit, he needs to be able to set other guys up. I didn't see a whole lot of that. Again, this game was against Spain. But also again, the Spanish guard rotation plays in the NBA. So that's what he's going to be up against.
Another takeaway:


All in all, this wasn't the best performance I could have seen from the Czech Republic, but there was definitely some potential there with Jan and Tomas. Again, Satoransky needs to work on his passing. But what Vesely needs, in my opinion, is just more floor time. His game seems to be solely based on confidence. He can be aggressive, especially on the offensive glass. He's good at breaking up passes, he can take a charge, and he's great at tapping the ball out or getting a putback dunk. Hell, his confidence even helped him split a pair of free throws! Fifty percent, you guys! He's climbing up!

Looking forward to seeing how our guys do for the rest of the tournament.