Ernie Grunfeld Jan Vesely

Many NBA teams have taken advantage of non-US players when it comes to finding talent. The Washington Wizards are not one of those teams. Players like Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Dirk Nowitzski — to name a few — have recently had enormous success in the NBA. The problem with this for some NBA organizations, it appears they will do anything to find “the next” Dirk or Manu.

The problem for the Wizards is the guy chasing after that talent is Ernie Grunfeld.

Since taking over making the draft selections for Washington in 2004, Grunfeld has selected 6 non-American players (and yes I know PJR isn’t technically a Euro because he is from Puerto Rico). Those 6 draft choices have led to…well, literally not much at all. Let’s take a look at those picks:


Peter John RamosPeter John Ramos – 2004 (32nd overall)

Total NBA Games Played: 6
Total NBA Minutes: 20

Total Games Played w/ Washington: 6
Minutes played with Wizards: 20

PJR racked up 6 total NBA games in his career, all of which came with the Wizards. He played a grand total of 20 MINUTES! His averages in Washington were 1.8 points, .7 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, and .2 blocks. He literally did nothing except play in a lot of Summer Leagues.


Oleskiy Pecherov  Oleksiy Pecherov – 2006 (18th overall)

Total NBA Games Played: 111
Total NBA Minutes: 1,044

Total Games Played w/ Washington: 67
Minutes played with Wizards: 597

Let’s just say that whoever scouted this guy, did a terrible job making the decision to select him in the first round of an actual NBA draft. He hasn’t been in the league since 2010. Besides making an occasional three and looking like Stewie Griffin, Pecherov really didn’t do much. I think the highlight of his NBA career was getting dunked on by Andres Nocioni. I mean really?!? Who gets dunked on by Andres Nocioni? For the Wizards he averaged 3.6 points, 2.15 rebounds, .15 assists, .2 steals, and .1 blocks. On top of all of this, he was traded by Grunfeld as part of moving the 5th pick in the 2009 draft for Mike Miller and Randy Foye — also known as the “instead of drafting the sharp shooting ace Steph Curry, let’s swap the pick for two marginal bench players” trade.

Vladimir Veremeenko  Vladimir Veremeenko – 2006 (48th overall)

Total NBA Games Played: 0
Total NBA Minutes: 0

Total Games Played w/ Washington: 0
Minutes played with Wizards: 0

I don’t think much else needs to be said, other than 2006 was a glorious Euro draft by Ernie Grunfeld. This guy hasn’t played 1 minute of NBA basketball. He was traded in 2010 to the Bulls, where get this, he hasn’t played. A quote by a member on a Chicago Bulls website in 2010 summed it up best: “Well, we got our mythical stretch 4. Emphasis on mythical.”


Nemanja Bjelica  Nemanja Bjelica – 2010 (35th overall)

Total NBA Games Played: 0
Total NBA Minutes: 0

Total Games Played w/ Washington: 0
Minutes played with Wizards: 0

The rights to Bjelica were traded on draft night so I am not sure I can really discredit Grunfeld for this one since he could have been making the selection for Minnesota. I would like to think however, that while Minnesota was on the phone with Ernie, they said go ahead and take the player who would be the best fit for your team, and that is exactly what he did.


Jan Vesely  Jan Vesely – 2011 (6th overall)

Total NBA Games Played: 108
Total NBA Minutes: 1,679

Total Games Played w/ Washington: 108
Minutes played with Wizards: 1,679

 Picks that were better than Jan Vesely at number 6: ALL OF THEM. But seriously: Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight, Klay Thompson, Morris Twins, Kawhi Leonard, Nicola Vucevic, Iman Shumpert, Tobias Harris, Kenneth Faried, Reggie Jackson, Marshawn Brooks, Jimmy Butler, and Chander Parsons. Vesely has not, and will not be able to live up to the expectations that come with being selected 6th overall. He has not shown any development in the basketball skills department, and has even regressed from a forgettable rookie year. In DC, he has averaged 3.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, .7 assists, .5 steals, and .5 blocks. The jury is still out on whether or not he can or will become more than just a bench guy, and by bench guy I literally mean a guy that sits on the bench. The smart money is on no.


Tomas Satoransky  Tomas Satoransky – 2012 (32nd overall)

Total NBA Games Played: 0
Total NBA Minutes: 0

Total Games Played w/ Washington: 0
Minutes played with Wizards: 0

 The best thing Satoransky has going for him so far is we haven’t had a chance to see him fail yet. Will he end up as one of those “mythical” Euros that never makes the trip over? We will find out sooner rather than later. There is a part of me that is still holding out hope for Satoransky, hoping that he can come over and be the perfect backup guard that this team is lacking. But then there is the part of me that realizes that Grunfeld’s track record speaks for itself and there is a better than decent chance that this will be another wasted pick.


 Some Highlights

  • 50% of Ernie’s Euro picks have never played an NBA game
  • Of the three who have played in the NBA, 2 are out of the league and one could be on his way
  • You can not combine their average assist totals to equal 1
  • Totals if you add up all average stats: 9 points, 6.25 rebounds, .85 assists, .7 steals, and .8 blocks


With the draft lottery set to occur on the 21st of this month, Wizards fans will be anxious to see whether or not their team can make a jump to a top three selection. After the lottery balls settle comes the real time to be nervous, wondering who and what Grunfeld will do with the Wizards picks. There has been a running joke on Twitter wondering what Euro player Ernie will select. But with draft eligible players named Rudy Gobert, Sergey Karasev, Giannis Adetokunbo, and Dario Saric projected to be first rounders, this should be no laughing matter.

I think it is safe to say that if Ernie drafts a Euro with our first pick, Wizards Twitter will be knocking on the front door of the Verizon Center looking something like this:

Simpsons Angry Mob

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