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EuroBasket 2017: Tomas Satoransky gears up for the Czech Republic without Jan Vesely

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tomas Satoransky had a busy summer. He was in Ibiza, Spain with Marcin Gortat earlier this summer and just got married! But now, he’s getting ready for EuroBasket 2017, where he’s looking to lead the Czech Republic to their second consecutive quarterfinals appearance.

How is Satoransky doing?

Statistically, Satoransky is doing as well as you might expect as the Czech Republic’s best player. He’s averaged 14.7 points and 6 assists a game in six friendlies. This includes a time when he shot 3 for 3 from three in a win against Hungary on August 5.

Are the Czechs rockin’ and rollin’ in friendlies like the Belgium women’s national basketball team did in June?

Nope. If anything, the Czechs have hit a rough patch in friendlies.

Satoransky is 2-4 in friendly play so far. One of the major reasons why is because the Czechs will not play in EuroBasket with two of their best players.

Jan Vesely, who once played for the Wizards, will not suit up for the continental competition. In addition, Blake Schilb, an American Czech player (not unlike Kia Vaughn was for the women’s tournament in June), hasn’t suited up for the national team because he was released by Turkish power Galatasaray recently, according to Alex LaCoste of BeBasket (link in French). The Czechs hope that Schilb will be able to play for the national team when he gets a new contract.

Before Satoransky suited up for the Czechs, they lost two consecutive friendlies to Poland. The Polish won’t have Marcin Gortat who retired from international play after EuroBasket 2015. At least from the outside looking in, the Czechs are in a tough spot right now heading into EuroBasket.

Any friendlies left before the real deal?

The Czechs will play Latvia later this week on August 24 and 25 before they head to EuroBasket. They will play in Group C and face Romania on September 1 in their first game of Group play.

What are the two things we’d like to see Satoransky do in EuroBasket?

Display an accurate three point shot - Satoransky shot 9 of 37, or less than 25 percent from three last season. Guards should shoot better than that of course. We’ve seen Satoransky do a bit better in friendlies, but the FIBA and WNBA three point line is a bit closer than the NBA three.

According to a translated BasketMag interview by Lukas Kuba of Truth About It, Satoransky is working with famed German shooting coach Stefan Weissenböck to improve his form and efficiency for this season. I’d love to see a game or two where Satoransky leads the Czechs to victory or at least keep them in a game during group play next month.

Show an ability to speed up the tempo - In Kubas’ translation, Satoransky was quite open about his difficulty transitioning to the NBA. It’s not that he lacks the fundamentals, but rather, he has to play a different position. In the NBA, Satoransky often played as a wing player where he would not get the ball very much unlike at FC Barcelona’s basketball team, where he would get to dictate the half court offense as a point guard.

The Wizards have made it clear that they are looking for a backup point guard to John Wall with their recent signings. Though I don’t think that Satoransky will play that much point guard, that’s basically like saying that Mystics forward Emma Meesseman is incapable of being a number one option. Look at what happened when she had that chance.

EuroBasket is Satoransky’s chance to show Scott Brooks and the Wizards coaching staff to show that he can play point guard at a high level. Okay, I think the Wizards know he can run a half court offense well since he did that at Barcelona. However, if Satoransky can show that he can speed up the tempo a bit and stay in control, that can’t be a bad thing by any means.