If you asked which 1990 born player would have any kind of impact in the Euroleague, the name of Ricky Rubio would be all over the place. Jan Vesely was known as a promising player but his transfer to Partizan Belgrade, that just lost their dominant inside player Nikola Pekovic, was considered as a bit early for a player that just played his first professional season with Geoplin Slovan.
But this was not a problem for the 2m11 tall Czech player who is currently improving at an impressive speed. After being barely used in the beginning of the season, Vesely has emerged throughout the year at that point that he claimed the most playing time of the team in the impressive game against Panathinaikos during the Top16 competition which I had the possibility to see. For a player that played 2 years ago in the Czech league and averaged 13.1ppg in the U16 B division in 2006, this current playing level is really impressive.
One of the major changes that have occurred is that Jan Vesely is playing mostly the SF spot with Partizan Belgrade. Something that may surprise for a player being nearly seven feet tall at first sight, does not look that strange when you see him on the court. It was especially on defense where I really wanted to see how Vesely can defend against smaller players, and he did it very well. This went that far that he provoked an offensive foul of Sarunas Jasikevicius in a one-on-one situation by adjusting his defensive position through good lateral movement in order to be in the Lithuanian’s penetration lane.
Because of his still very skinny body, the choice to put him on the SF position may have been the best choice as Vesely possesses the offensive skills to play on this position. A correct shot from long distance is already present and he is not afraid to take it from behind the arc, despite having been at 0/16 for the season before the crucial moments of the game against Panathinaikos, and hit the three ball. On the offensive end, it came up that he often was waiting on the weak side in order to go for catch-and-shoot situations. His jumper out of the drive is still a work in progress as he sometimes struggles to be under control in these situations. And Jan knows about this as he told us that his shot is his main concern for the upcoming summer.
However, his ball handling is already very good for a player of his size and it is quite common to see him run the break dribbling the ball. This helps him too when trying to beat his opponent of the dribble which he can do also against smaller guys. He struggles though sometimes when it comes to concluding close to the basket because he gets bumped around in the air. You can see him go for the dunk in certain situations in traffic too. By gaining a bit more weight and power, Vesely can develop his drive even more as he should have no trouble to finish difficult lay-ups against bigger guys.
For the future, Jan wants to stay with Partizan Belgrade and become a constant Starting five player. This summer, he should be playing with the Senior National Team before coming back to Belgrade. In a long term view, Vesely has all the assets to develop into a NBA Draft candidate in the next 2 years. Mobile seven footers are of course always a target but with Jan Vesely, the combination with basketball skills and a solid background makes him a very interesting prospect.