David Jelinek, the Czech Shooting Guard is already in his fifth season with the Spanish team Joventut Badalona. After having arrived in 2007 to play with the Junior Team, the Brno native spent several seasons with the Joventut farm team at Prat where he gained experience on the professional level. In 2010, he started his first full season with the ACB team and finished with 7.0ppg at 40.4% from the field and 45.7% from behind the arc. This season, he has increased his scoring and his role in the rotation but his shooting percentages have gone down below 40%. We checked his game recently in an overtime win against Unicaja Malaga where the Czech had his best game of the season.
The 1m94 tall guard sees nearly twenty minutes per game this season for FIATC Joventut Badalona. The main role of Jelinek is to score the basketball. He constantly moves off the ball in order to get open, spread the court and be in position. He has an excellent sense to find the right position on the court and being a threat on the weak side. The 1990 born and therefore automatically eligible player does not have the ball in his hands very often and does not help to bring up the ball that much for example. He plays most of his minutes on the SG position but sometimes has to be on the 3 spot when his team wants to play short. In that case, he struggles heavily on the defensive end and in rebounding situations; something that took him out of the game in overtime as he committed two fouls against a taller wing player in the low post and a defensive rebound situation.
On the SG position, Jelinek shows better defensive skills as he is able to stay in front of his man and has relatively good lateral speed. Even if he is not a great defender right now, Jelinek has the potential to become a player on the next level with defensive missions and offensive firepower from behind the arc because the Czech player has the scoring touch in his veins and should be able to deliver some points over short periods.
In the game we saw, he started slowly into the game though and had some misses on the drive as he tried some difficult out of balance finishes against taller players. He is able to beat his opponent with a good first step and create some opportunities for himself or help situations that allow him to dish the ball to his team mates but he needs to become more under control in these situations to have a better finish close to the basket. This is a point where Jelinek has some work to do as his decision making on the drives is perfectible. He has some good instincts and fakes so that he can get open to the basket where he can finish with either hand and above the rim as well.
His main strength is his shooting where he has an excellent quick jump shot from behind the arc. His mechanics are very fluid and a very high curve on the ball makes his attempts looking aesthetic. He can fire it up quickly in catch and shoot situations even without taking the ball down below his head and still make the perfect shot. When he has a slight opening, he takes the ball down to chest-height before executing his move. This does not bother him a lot as he executes very quickly and without hesitation. As mentioned above, he moves very well off the ball and can open up easily on the wing for the immediate pull-up jump shot. He does not use the mid-range jump shot that often when putting down the ball on the floor but he can hit it from around the key without any major problem.
Even if he still needs to gain more experience on decision making on the drive, Jelinek showed that he gained in maturity in other fields of the game. He learned how to draw the charge on the fast break and how to use his body in those situations. Additionally, it was him who scored the two free-throws that gave Joventut the tie to reach the overtime in the final seconds. Looking at all that, you can see that there is some kind of progress in his development but when you dig deeper in the stats (we used the database of Draftexpress.com), you can see some problems.
In nearly all the more complex statistical numbers, the impact of Jelinek has dropped since last season. His PER went from 15.2 to 10.0 so far this season while his efficiency per 40 minutes went down to 8.2 coming from 14.5. On the other hand, the number of possessions that he played grew in relation to his minutes on the court. His possession ratios remain fairly stable but his impact in terms of percentages of the team’s offensive stats grew differently. In fact, his percentage of the team’s attempts from 2 and 3 point area grew stronger than his percentages of the team’s made shots. This underlines his still sometimes erratic shoot selection and decision making (even if his turn over number remains really low) but also that he might be a better player for shorter rotations.
If you put all this together, David Jelinek can either develop into a high-profile scorer with improving shooting percentages in the next years and be the top-scorer of his team or accept becoming a role player who only sees the court over shorter periods but with more efficiency. It is about him to decide where his career path will bring him as he remains very young but has already seen quite some minutes on the highest level. A regular Eurocup or Euroleague team should be the next step for him in the upcoming months.