It may seem like a foregone conclusion that Jan Vesely will be the Washington Wizards' pick at No. 6 in the 2011 NBA Draft, but hold the phone. One of the most recent NBA Draft rumors suggests the Wizards covet a different international player with those initials: Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas.
Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports that Valanciunas is higher on the Wizards' draft board than Vesely, even though Valanciunas is likely to stay in Europe next season.
I've heard that the Wizards have Valanciunas rated slightly ahead of Vesely, since the Lithuanian big man is two years younger and has a little more upside and room for improvement. In my story for the paper, a person with knowlege of the Wizards' thinking told me that Valanciunas "might be worth the wait" if his buyout agreement forces him to stay in Lithuania for another year.
On Wednesday, Valanciunas said he expects to be drafted by either Cleveland, who holds the No. 4 pick, or Washington. Valanciunas flew in for a secret meeting with Cleveland Tuesday, according to Draft Express' Jonathan Givony. If Valanciunas is off the board, Vesely would probably be the pick.