Wall brings out the best in Vesely

Wall brings out the best in Vesely
January 10, 2013, 1:00 pm
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It goes without saying the 5-28 Wizards have missed their starting point guard John Wall. No individual player's offensive and overall game has suffered more without the lightning quick distributor than Jan Vesely's.

No knock on any of those that handled the quarterback role in Wall's absence, but nobody else on the roster has that extra up-tempo gear. When left to grind out offense, Washington's sputtered and stalled way more than it's rocked and rolled, ranking last in the NBA in scoring.

As for Vesely, when stuck in a heavy rotation of half court sets, the Czech forward's full court game is lost in translation.

During the final 15 games of last season, Vesely played his role as fast breaking wingman and rim attacker never better, averaging 8.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.1 steals while shooting 55 percent from the floor. The notoriously poor free throw shooter even sank 64 percent of his attempts from the line.

This season from training camp on, no Wall - meaning minimal open court action - has meant no flow and limited minutes for the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 draft. Through 26 games, Vesely is averaging 2.6 points while shooting under 50 percent from the floor and a dreadful 24 percent from the foul line.

Perhaps simply having Wall return to practice as he did last week has already helped bolstered Vesely's game.

Overshadowed in Washington's stunning upset over Oklahoma City on Monday, Vesely dunked his way to a season-high 10 points. He also notched seven boards, his best total on the glass this season.

"I was struggling the last few months and now I just try to play game and just stay focused on the things I'm doing," Vesely said. "Play hard and go for every rebound and then I feel pretty good on the court."

Regardless, his secondary scoring role and high-flying ways needs an assist. Barring a setback in Wall's recovery over the next few days, the offense's pulsating beat will be back - even if just for limited minutes - on Saturday.

"I'm happy John is back," Vesely said. "The game is much more faster. I like that type of game. He push the ball and try to look for me and he's very good."

The Wizards coach certainly won't argue that point.

"John's going to help Jan, guys like that that aren't creators on their own, guys that need someone to help create shots for them," Randy Wittman said. "Obviously John helps those kind of guys. I think obviously he will. Jan has played the way I want to see him play these last couple of games. He's got to keep at a consistent level, the energy, the flying around, the running the floor, the offensive rebounding, defending, deflections. That's who he is. I think he even feels that way."

Even though Vesely's game has struggled mightily in the absence of you know who, the 6-foot-11 forward admits any issues have come from within.

"It affects a little bit, but it was all my fault," Vesely said. "I wasn't ready. I wasn't focused on the games. I try to focus on the game from the first minute on the court. I will keep doing that."

With Trevor Ariza back in the rotation and Trevor Booker set to join the mix Saturday after his own lengthy injury absence, the Wizards frontcourt is about to become crowded. Vesely's opportunity for minutes exists, but now he must consistently take advantage of it. Certainly having John Wall back helps.