Wizards Owner Offers Public Support for Struggling Jan Vesely

by December 04, 2012
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Second-year forward Jan Vesely is having himself a miserable season — so much so that a Twitter account has been created specifically to track his depressing statistical output. Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis backed Vesely (who is posting just 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds per game) and some of his other young employees on his blog: “Young players develop at their own pace and in context to how the team is developing and playing. When you are a sitting with one win this season, it is very easy, and frankly casual, to critique very young players. We now have six players we have drafted in the lineup, and one player that we traded for who was a first round pick in the lineup, as well in Jordan Crawford. So, that’s seven players out of 15 that have come into our rotation from the draft in the last three off seasons. Frankly, more than half our team is now made up of seasoned and complementary playing vets. We have seven new vets in our lineup this season as well. And Cartier Martin, who has played with our team before. People advocate for change, and sometimes having so much change at a time when you also have core players out with injuries makes for a very tough start to a season. I am supportive of our young players, and will continue to advocate that we build around a core of players that we have drafted and developed. We have made trades to add the vets. We have done some free agent signings. What we haven’t done is wade into free agency to add a big star to our team. We have many players on our team that we drafted. As noted, John Wall, our point guard is our most tenured player. This would be only his third season. He hasn’t’ played a minute yet this season. The other two players in that draft – three seasons ago – Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker – have also contributed. But Booker has been injured a lot of late. Take a look at this link and at the last six years of the fate of the first round picks in the draft as to injuries. It happens. So two of the three players in our first draft of ownership are not in the lineup this season due to injuries. We basically did start over, building a roster from scratch and a team that evolved around athleticism, running, and two players – Nene and Wall – who have special skills and can make players around them fit in and play better team ball. Nene has been limited to his minutes this season and has played only fou games with limited minutes. Jan Vesely and Trevor Ariza are best situated in a running, fast-paced offense. We have now had to slow down play without John Wall in the lineup, and we are asking players to play half court sets. This is a miss -match for their specific skill sets. Jan Vesely is in his second year of development. You always support a young, talented player, who is 7 feet tall, can run and is fundamentally sound. Jan has our support, and is working hard to develop his all-around game. But this is his second year in the NBA, and he is playing without a starting point guard who can push the pace of play. We shouldn’t be so fast to write him off as a player. This is easy to do in media but not something that is smart to do for our franchise. I support Jan Vesely.”