Despite all the talent and potential in my early 2004 Generation standout list, Jakub Nečas is a prospect from the same 2004 class who has seen more minutes of first division basketball than all of the prospects of that list combined, playing 67 minutes through four games for Brno in the Czech NBL, the highest level of basketball in the Czech Republic. While we could go further into the circumstances that likely pushed a professional team to play a 16-year old against grown men (eg. injuries, complications to fill rosters with import players during the COVID-19 pandemic), the fact is that beyond the obvious need for physical development, Nečas looks like he belongs on the floor at this level of competition.
Nečas shows really good size and length for a wing at 6’6″ tall with what looks to be at least a +2 wingspan which he uses effectively to collect rebounds, get in passing lanes and finish at the rim. Nečas possesses long legs which allow him to sprint the floor and cover ground quickly within a few strides. While he’s not the best east/west athlete and his movement can be awkward/lack coordination at times, he is mobile laterally when sliding in one direction, which allows him to cover the most simple drives, but could struggle against players with start/stop deceptiveness.
The obvious improvement area for Nečas is his strength, which isn’t out of the ordinary considering his age. Nečas has narrow shoulders, skinny legs and a frame that still needs to fill out. At this point, while he’s fluid to navigate screens as a defender, he can be taken out of plays if he can’t avoid them, while also struggling to establish position on either end of the floor against physicality.
Offensively he generates most of his points off the ball. As a shooter, there’s obviously aspects to improve mechanically (should hold his followthrough longer, especially his guiding hand, legs tend to be too far apart on the shot preparation which can lead to off-balance shots, somewhat exaggerated outwards wrist snap which can cause left/right misses), but has interesting potential at his size as a floor spacer, showing good touch and balance, which allows him to occasionally convert shots against pressure. At this point he’s at his best as a spot-up shooter, but considering his age and his touch, he could develop into a more versatile shooter off-the-catch down the line.
The other area where Nečas generates the most offensively at this point is as an offensive rebounder, which is impressive considering neither his height nor his strength are optimal for someone who plays on the interior. Nečas compensates however with a really good standing reach, which allows him to high point rebounds, but especially, with his instincts and timing to fly in from the perimeter to crash the glass.
He’s limited at this point as a drive creator, since he doesn’t have a quick first step nor the creativity as a handler to create space against defenders, but he’s opportunistic to take advantage of favorable matchups and attack closeouts. Nečas’ ability to keep a low dribble thanks to his length could potentially turn him into someone who is comfortable driving through crowds, but he thrives when he finds the open space, having really good bend to turn the corner, using his long legs to eat space quickly and generate momentum going to the rim. Nečas is a fluid vertical athlete who is able to leap off of one foot with a head full of steam and his wingspan allows him to get good extension finishes at the rim.
As a passer, Nečas is similarly limited. He currently falls into a tertiary ball-mover role, someone who is not going to create advantages and exploit them by creating open shots for teammates, but he makes overall solid decisions with the ball in his hands, being able to make the extra pass in the perimeter, solid at getting entry passes to the bigs, advancing the play in transition and overall understanding and playing within his role as an off-ball wing.
Much of Nečas’ value as a future prospect projects to be as a defender. Despite not having optimal physical strength at this point, he’s able to be effective and generates events as a defender thanks to his IQ, timing and willingness to contribute as a team defender. He’s especially good at rotating from the corners and the wings to disrupt plays, which make him especially valuable as a secondary pick-and-roll defender.
Nečas plays with a high level of activity on defense, which makes him try and succeed at plays outside of his comfort zone, he doesn’t mind physicality despite his limited success against bigger opponents, he’s willing and disciplined on the defensive boards and he shows a high motor both in transition and as a half-court defender. However, this high level of activity at times works against him, especially when playing against experienced opponents, who understand his tendency to overcommit to help as a defender to the paint and leave his man open in the perimeter.
His projected value as an on-ball defender is yet to be determined given that most of the one-on-one stops he gets have to do more with his usage of size and length than in his ability to stay in front of opponents. Nečas possesses below-average body control and coordination which makes his defensive footwork somewhat clumsy and easy to exploit by more experienced drivers.
Overall, it’s easy to see why Brno trusts Nečas enough to give him minutes at his young age, he’s a high-IQ team defender who can create scoring in a low-usage role by spacing the floor and crashing the offensive glass. When it comes to his long-term profile, continuing his development as a shooter and growing into his body – both in terms of adding strength and improving his body control and coordination will be the keys for Nečas, who could develop into a 3&D specialist down the line.