A Blossoming Rivalry of Epic Proportions? Probably Not… But One Could Always Hope!
By Hassan Naeem
The moment I heard Jan Vesely utter the words “Blake Griffin is the American Jan Vesely” in his imposing Eastern European accent, I had an instant flashback to all those nights as a kid staying up until 3 am watching Rocky IV, and witnessing Ivan Drago, threaten Rocky with phrases such as “I will break you” or “I can not be defeated. I beat all man. Someday, I will beat a real champion. If he dies, he dies.” Now if Blake Griffin takes Vesely’s words as a challenge, I believe we have the makings for our next big basketball showdown the likes of Lebron & Deshawn I and II, or even Magic and Bird (Okay maybe I’m getting a bit carried away now) and if we’re lucky, we won’t have to pay for it (like we would have had to for the pay per view event headlining Shaquille O’Neal versus Hakeem Olajuwon, in a one on one game that never actually took place due to a back injury to Hakeem.)
Now as we work our way back to the article, It’s easy to see that Vesely is no where close to being as physically imposing to other power forwards in the NBA, as Drago was to Balboa and Creed; he does have the potential to have a comparable instant impact on the NBA landscape. I’ll admit as a fan of our hometown team, I was pretty skeptical about Vesely’s game. The rationale being:
a) There’s hardly any footage of the kid on YouTube doing anything besides dunk the basketball and not being able to handle alley oops due to “bad hands” as described by David Locke of the Utah Jazz.
b) The hatred spewing from die-hard Wizard fans on internet message boards based on both reasons a, and c, although primarily c.
c) Memories of Oleksiy Pecherov (
Check out the Wizards JaVale McGee and Nick Young playing in the Drew League in California. We here at WizardsExtreme.com cover the Goodman League here in Washington, but here is two of the Wizards displaying their skills in the west coast. Enjoy in this depressing lock out.
Follow Asad on Twitter @AsadNaqviDMV along with WizardsExtreme.com @WizardsExtreme
Not sure if anybody has seen it but check out my article over at CSNWashington.com right now under the wizards section!
Here is the direct link:
Check it out as I dive into the mind of Justin Zormelo. An individual who helps out NBA players get better and tweak their play to make them the absolute best. He's helped the likes of Dejuan Summer, Tracy McGrady and local favorite, Kevin Durant.
Andray Blatche may be changing for the better. Yeah I just said it, he may be changing for the better after all. Andray, amongst all the bad news that the media shares about the guy from his on the court (not getting up when he was going to be substituted in) to outside the court (WE won't go there), the guy actually has a good heart. Maturation is a beautiful thing once you go through the growing pains. I defended Andray Blatche all through out his career. Even when he hung out with Peter John Ramos (oh you can't forget that name). But seriously folks, the guy can score and has ability to create mismatches. He's gotten better every year since his first year in the league. We can bring up every negative about the guy but lets look at some positives. He can score, he can shoot, he can be very good IF he puts 100% into his dedication on/off the court.
Here is a link to Andray Blatche story (Courtesy of @MikePradaSBN on twitter for re-tweeting the story) that was written in the Miami Herald about a Charity Trip to Jamaica that `Dray will be taking with several NFL players. In the article, Andray explains how he still believes,
“I’m still an up-and-coming player,” said Blatche, who bounced back from a broken foot to average 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds last season. “I just want to be mean and tough in the paint, work on my jump shot and become more consistent. Work on my body. My goal is to be one of the best players in the league.”
If Chris Singleton ever has trouble getting motivated next season, all he has to do is think back to his painful draft night experience and all the teams who didn’t think he was worth the selection.
The junior from Florida State was projected to be chosen as high as the sixth pick but took a dive down several teams’ drafts boards. Singleton was the only remaining player in the green room who had yet to hear his name called.
After the Washington Wizards chose him with the 18th pick, Singleton was asked if he planned on celebrating.no comments
The Wizards PR Department provided us with a collection of 10 analysts perspectives on the Wizards 2011 NBA Draft selections. We, like a ton of you believe it is absolutely impossible to actually grade a draft right after, however its nice for once to have everybody talking about what we DID do as opposed to what we DIDN'T do.
First, they changed the colors, now they're adding pieces. If they can get a CBA in place, we might actually have one hell of a show to watch this fall at Verizon Center. Have a look for yourself at what they're saying....
SAM AMICK (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED) Grade: A+ “In grabbing the athletic, exciting small forward in Jan Vesely (No. 6), they now have a get-up-and-go talent to run the break with their franchise centerpiece. Vesely has been the apple of the Wizards' eye for quite some time and that's precisely why. In Singleton (No. 18), they get a lockdown defender player who claims he can guard all five positions. Shelvin Mack (No. 34) is a nice pickup at the point.”
MATT MOORE & BEN GOLLIVER (CBSSPORTSLINE) Grade: A+ “The Wizards got two of the best steals of the draft. Vesely will bring aggression and athleticism. Singleton, defense and versatility. They knocked this out of the park.”
CHAD FORD (ESPN.COM) Grade: A “This was a critical summer for the Wizards. Drafting John Wall was easy last year. This year the challenge was to surround him with players who complement his talents. Mission accomplished. Vesely is one of the most athletic forwards in the draft and should be great flying up and down the floor with Wall. Singleton is also a terrific athlete and the best defender in the draft. Factor in Shelvin Mack as a solid backup guard at No. 34, and the Wizards came away more athletic and tougher. That's a great draft.”
JEFF GOODMAN (CBSSPORTSLINE) Grade: A “I'm not sure anyone fared better than the Wizards -- who picked up a pair of potential starters and a quality backup in Mack. Singleton can play immediately -- with his skills defensively -- and I'm shocked he slipped to No. 18. Vesely, a big-time athlete who is 21 years old, is ready to come in and play right away.”
CHRIS MANNIX (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED) “The Wizards were locked in on Jan Vesely, an NBA-ready Euro who relishes contact and can finish at the rim. And they landed a badly needed defensive stopper at No. 18 in two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year Chris Singleton. Toss in Butler's Shelvin Mack, whose stock soared after a strong NCAA tournament, and the Wiz can pat themselves on the back after this one.”
JEFF ZILGITT (USA TODAY) “Forward Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic is a perfect fast-break option for point guard John Wall. The Wizards also drafted defense: Florida State's Chris Singleton.”
CHRIS PALMER (ESPN THE MAGAZINE) (Answering “Who won the draft?”) “The Wizards got Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, two guys who can contribute right away and help turn the franchise around. Vesely has some serious swag to go with his leaping ability. Singleton gives them toughness and could emerge as a quality pro defender. It's a great way to follow up taking John Wall at No. 1 in last year's draft.”
JON BARRY (ESPN) “The Wizards are the biggest winners in this draft.”
MIKE DECOURCY (SPORTING NEWS) “Vesely is a 6-11 athletic marvel who quite possibly will be an NBA small forward. There just aren’t a lot of guys anywhere with his package of size and athleticism. It’s a different game here, and some players without a background playing here can struggle with the different pace of play. But Vesely looks very much like he is one of those who can join the space now occupied by Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki.” “Singleton built a reputation as a great defender, which is easier to do in college basketball than actually being a great defender. He is not hype. He is not someone who gambles and loses his man in order to deliver the spectacular shot-block. He has been well-taught in terms of positioning and reading the offense and undoubtedly will help the Wizards at that end of the floor while he continues to advance his offensive education.”
Photo Courtesy of Ned Dishman/NBA.com/Wizards
Today the Washington Wizards introduced the newest member, the #6 pick overall, Jan Vesely. Him and his tall girlfriend along with her pretty sister, sat near by to watch as he answered questions from the media (myself included).
His English isn't that bad at all, I actually understood most of it. Someone in the media asked If he was the European Blake Griffin and he simply said, "Um, I don't know......I think so." It brought out laughter from media to the owner Ted Leonsis.
I asked Daddy (my nickname for him) aka Ted Leonsis, what he thought and he simply just stated that he loved it and was loving the fact that they got 3 solid steals in the draft.
Wizards General Manager described Jan Vesely, "has a great motor, very competitive, plays hard all the time, has a high basketball IQ, is a team player, he brings alot to the table."
Welcome to Washington DC: Jan Vesely/Chris Singelton video made by WE's very own Roni aka @BballWiz330
Check out the video he made!
*REMINDER* Today is the day when the Wizards introduce Jan Vesely. Stay tuned as WE bring coverage of that. Follow us on twitter @WizardsExtreme and @AsadNaqviDMV
The Wizards have gone international selected Jan Vasely with #6 pick of the NBA Draft. Usually when you win or are excited, you kiss the baby, but not Jan, he kissed his girlfriend (who is tall as hell) and the crowd went nuts. Vesely is a 6`11 240lbs small forward who can play the 4 (power forward) will come right in and see significant playing time if he can listen to coach Flip Saunders.
Check out this in depth scouting report by Dave Locke (@LockedOnSports), who is the radio voice of the Utah Jazz. He did a wonderful job of breaking him down to the T. This is a must read.
"When he gets going he plays with passion. He plays fearlessly. I was left with the impression he wanted to be the man. He made the biggest impression when the game was in the 4th quarter and tight.
Athletically he wows you with above the rim slams and his length. Not sure about his pure speed or his laterally movement. It really depends if he is a 3 or a 4 and that is not clear," wrote Dave Locke of the Utah Jazz.