With the NBA draft on Thursday night, it is only right to look back on one of if not the biggest Wizards draft busts: Jan Vesely.
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m as big of a Jan Vesely fan as it comes. He’s the #AirWolf, and provided the Zards some solid minutes as a 6th man for a couple weeks, but at the same time, he was also the 6th overall pick. Damian Lillard was a 6th overall pick.
Hailing from the Czech Republic, Jan came into the league with all the measurables to be Washington’s next great big man. His career truly started out with a bang when he made out with his girlfriend right after being announced as the 6th overall pick such a power move that’s when you knew Jan was going to be electric.
But there was one problematic measurable that ending up sticking out among the rest, he was not very good at the game of basketball.
He was truly a fan favorite among me and my friends. During my freshman year of high school, I would always be the one leading the “put in Jan” chants in the 5$ nosebleeds.
Being a Wizards fan, I was so used to mediocrity, and Jan was just another guy to laugh at amongst the likes of Cartier “Macho Man” Martin and A.J. “Pretty Pass” Price.
I’ll never forget the day I found out he was traded. Almost had to call in sick when I heard the news.
While we’re talking about a Wizards draft bust, how about we take a look at the man that made the pick: Crooked Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld. This pick was the perfect embodiment of the pure mediocrity and incompetence of Ernie. Grunfeld could not have drafted a worse group of players then he did in 2011.
Forget Jan Vesely for a second. Ernie’s second first-round pick in the 2011 draft was Chris Singleton, and then to top it off, he drafted Shelvin Mack in the second round. While Mack is still hanging on to the NBA by a thread, both Singleton and Vesely are no longer in the league. (But to be fair Jan is a Euroleague champion so who’s the real winner?)
Ernie is literally the Jeff Fisher of NBA GM’s as he’s been around since 2003 and has nothing to show for it. Really makes you think about something he might have something on Ted Leonsis. (Stephen A. Smith’s voice: “He got pictures!”)
Although Jan may be a thing of the of the past to some Wizards fans, the real ones will never forget what he did in D.C. His career average of 3.6 points per game is a rec league stat line, and I think that’s why myself and some of my colleagues shared a deep appreciation for him. Long Live the Airwolf.
– Jackson Parker