By Nikos Varlas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Eurohoops will select 3 players from each team in the Final Four whose performance we consider crucial regarding how their teams will fare in Madrid and will present them in 12 different parts. One by one they will “parade” through and we will focus on their role and the reasons they are important.
Why he’s a catalyst
The Czech with the long figure and the numerous athletic qualities raised his performance levels and his contribution in parallel with Fenerbahce’s improvement in the season. He earned the importance that he has for Zeljko Obradovic.
The whole point was his definite and permanent relocation to the ‘5’ position! The other centers of the team are not particularly athletic (Zoric, Savas) and Vesely offered something that the coach was desperately looking for. Size and effectiveness in defense above all else, and offensively with the pick and roll!
The 25yearold has developed into the absolute key of the team’s defensive functioning, protects the rim well in many possessions and provides the Serbian coach with the opportunity to use some of his favorite defensive shapes.
In offense he takes advantage of his speed to score with strong finishes after the creations of the guards, or even after offensive rebounds for which he has an inclination.
In the ‘4’ position not only could he not perform so well defensively, but also instead of contributing offensively as he does now, he was a hindrance! This is because he was not a threat with shots from the perimeter and in this way he reduced distances and gave the opposing defense an easy target. So that they could adjust and send back up (mostly on Goudelock) from the player that matched him up.
It’s crucial for him to respond effectively in his role in Fenerbahce’s attempt to win the Euroleague. Like the series against Maccabi in which he had 13.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 63% in two-point field goals. All his numbers were elevated markedly since he was established in the ‘5’ position.
Against Real he has to protect the rim of his team and be effective against charismatic guards like Sergio Rodriguez and Llull. Obradovic will definitely plan to get loose balls in offense after his picks, with the aim of giving his team the chance to score easily. A key will be his offensive rebounds that will produce extra possessions.
The “cursed” rebound
Jan Vesely is Fenerbahce’s only player, along with Nikos Zisis, that has Final Four experience! In 2010 he played in Paris in a substantial leadership role, at 20 years of age. He had an average of 12.5 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists with the impressive 78.6% in two-point field goals!
In the semifinal against Olympiacos he had a great performance (13 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks), but in the last possession of regulation time (against Partizan at +2) the big chance to compete in the final was lost. Teodosic missed the three-pointer, Dusan Kecman after the switch lost Josh Childress and the American dunked and took that semifinal to overtime.
The Greek team got the win and qualified. Vesely correctly blocked out Linas Kleiza but he definitely hasn’t forgotten that lost rebound.