At times looking unsure of himself, Jan Vesely finally found his way back on the floor for the Wizards.
The second-year forward, who was a lottery pick in 2011, entered at 4:58 of the first quarter for Nene in Sunday’s 90-87 win vs. the Philadelphia 76ers.
Vesely was quickly scored on by Lavoy Allen and had a turnover a minute later on a bad pass. With the Sixers unconcerned about his offensive ability, they doubled the ball-handlers. Trevor Ariza stepped through the trap and found Vesely for a layup.
He drew a charge on Thaddeus Young in the second quarter, but then attempted a hook shot from the low post that drew nothing but air.
“He’s got to be a guy that plays confidently. That means the ability to run up and down the floor, defend, rebound, block some shots, play with confidence,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said after practice earlier in the week. “Sometimes ... he hides from the ball.”
Vesely went 2-for-2 in five minutes of play in the third quarter, both shots coming at point-blank range. The first one came on a lob from John Wall that gave the Wizards their largest lead at 70-60 with 3:13 left. The second one came on a lob from A.J. Price at the end of the period.
"He was wide open by himself but he was kind of looking at me too long," Price said. "I was trying to tell him just go to the basket, I'm going to throw it to him. He did a great job coming off the bench, not playing in so many games."
Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker, each of whom started one of the two previous games with Nene out with a shoulder injury, didn't log any playing time.
Vesely hadn't played since Feb. 8. His 16 minutes were the most since Jan. 25. He’s averaging just 2.7 points per game, two fewer than his rookie season.
The Wizards play at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday (CSN, 8 p.m. ET). Given that minutes can be sporadic for role players under Wittman, who knows if Vesely will get a chance to play again. Vesely looked a lot more confident in a scrimmage with teammates after practice on Saturday.
“He’s a smart player,” Wittman said. “He’s a skilled player that can pass well, makes the right reads and he’s got to put himself in those positions.”