The Washington Wizards knew what they had — last year at Summer League Sam Cassell (coaching the team in Vegas) and Flip Saunders said the Wizards were going to run. They had John Wall, they were going to up the tempo and get in in the open court.
And they did, they moved from 21st in the league in possessions per game two seasons ago to ninth last season (2.2 more possessions per game faster, so they can do more).
They may go even faster, which is part of the reason they drafted Jan Vesely. He and JaVale McGee make an athletic front line that can finish spectacularly.
Vesely told CSNWashington.com he wants to be a part of that.
“I like Washington’s game,” Vesely said. “They are fast and we can run the floor and we can work. This is a young team and we have enough time to work hard and practice well. I came here to help the team.”
“He [Wall] is a very good point guard and very quick, and I can run the fast break with him,” Vesely said. “It will be good. I play very fast basketball, and I think it will translate well.”
A number of scouts think Vesely’s game is better suited to the NBA than Europe. He can run, finish and block shots, the rest of his game needs to grow (in particular perimeter shooting).
The Wizards need to run even more next season — they should be in the top five in the league in pace. Big men that can beat their opponent down the floor (even in the secondary break) put incredible pressure on a defense. The Wizards have guys that can do that and a point guard in John Wall who can get them the ball. One key is rebounding — Washington was the second worst defensive rebounding team in the league last year, and you can’t run without the ball. It’s part of the need to improve their defense overall — the Wizards were pretty good at creating turnovers last season (seventh best in the league) but not at getting stops.
But we do know this — the Wizards may end up being the most entertaining team in the league next year. They will be a highlight reel.