For about four years, Tomas Satoransky had a mythical aura, like a creature that’s talked about in villages but rarely seen. The failed Jan Vesely experiment left a post vomit-like taste in fans’ mouths, but the videos of Satoransky soaring through the air in Europe and the no-look passes were enough to induce a substantial amount of curiosity and wonder.
Satoransky entered the NBA at a time when versatility has never been more coveted. As one of the tallest point guards in the league, he seemed to possess a skill-set that made him an immediate asset to the team – capable of distributing, scoring off the ball and defending multiple positions (otherwise known as the Ernie Grunfeld checklist).
A year later, he remains as much of a mystery, if not more, than ever.
Since he went pro in 2010, John Wall has never had a consistent backup. Andre Miller, Ramon Sessions, Eric Maynor, Jannero Pargo, Shelvin Mack and Shaun Livingston have come to the nation’s capital and left relatively quickly. This season, the Wizards will likely rely on Tim Frazier as their primary backup. Despite the small sample size, Frazier proved himself to be a reliable backup in New Orleans, and, really, that’s all Wall could ask for after years of instability at the position.
Playing time at that spot will be limited, leaving him to take minutes where he can get them. But as he enters year two, it’s time for him to distinguish himself as more than just someone who has potential. At 25, even with another year left on his contract, it’s now or never for him.
Last season, Satoransky, who often appeared confident overseas and ready for the pros, was unsure of himself – a trait that ended Vesely’s NBA career within a minute of it beginning.
Per-36 minutes, he attempted a tad over seven shots per game, making 41.5 percent of his total looks and 24.3 percent of his threes. The opportunities were there, especially as Trey Burke bounced in and out of Scott Brooks’ rotation, yet he couldn’t manage the game well enough to stick. Washington sought help outside of their roster, signing Brandon Jennings, who also didn’t find much semblance of consistency in D.C.
Washington finds themselves in a similar situation this season, with the same old factors creating questions about the second unit. Will health prevent Jodie Meeks from being the scoring spark he can be? Is Mike Scott going to earn playing time over Jason Smith, who always sneaks his way onto the court? And most importantly, in his case, will Frazier be a reliable backup for Wall?
The Wizards aren’t a team loaded with talent and depth, even though the front office, coaching staff and some fans use that thought to soothe their anxious minds. Opportunities, as they were last year, will be plentiful for him. Brooks has shown more of a tendency to go small, giving him room to play the two or possibly the three.
On Friday, the Wizards released an all-access video of the team’s training camp, documenting his dunk contest against Carrick Felix. The between-the-legs dunk and windmill were impressive, admittedly. The and-one layup was, too.
But the highlights don’t put up points, rebounds or assists on the court. This season is many things for the Wizards, and for Satoransky, it should be the one where he solves his own mystery.