CLEVELAND – Any excuse to talk with historically great guy Vlade Divac is great, of course. But with the Draft approaching on Thursday and Jan Vesely heading to the top 10 (and possibly the top three), suddenly Divac becomes a Vesely expert like few others.
As a member of the board of directors of Partizan Belgrade, the team in Serbia that Vesely plays for, Divac has watched the 21-year-old athletic force about 30 times the last two seasons. He has talked to him about the NBA life ahead. He has told Vesely he hopes he ends up in Vlade’s beloved Sacramento at No. 7, an outside possibility but a chance nonetheless. And in conversations with Wayne Cooper, Divac said he has steered clear of trying to influence the No. 2 man in basketball operations for the Kings, but an endorsement of the prospect undoubtedly came through.
The Divac scouting report supports the consensus from executives and scouts, that Vesely is reminiscent of a young Andrei Kirilenko as a tall, lean small forward who should be able to use elite leaping and quickness to check some power forwards, and also as offensively limited without a jump shot.
“He’s not the typical European guy,” Divac said by phone from Chicago, where he is spending about a week to stage basketball camps for kids in a city with a large Serbian community. “He is not a good shooter. But he is explosive. He jumps so high, we won a lot of games on alley-oops.”
And if Vesely gets a jumper?
“If he develops that, which I think he could, he could be unbelievable,” Divac said.
As in consistent All-Star?
“I think so,” Divac said. “With a good shot, yeah.”
Vesely is in play as soon as No. 3 to the Jazz, which would make him the next Kirilenko (who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason) in more ways than one, and is probably gone by the Wizards at No. 6. And if he is still on the board, it’s impossible to imagine Vesely getting past the Kings. Divac, who also played for Partizan before joining the Lakers in 1989 as one of the pioneers of the European influence on the NBA, would be happy. Sacramento would be happy.