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NBA Draft 2013: Jeff Withey scouting report

Jeff Withey was one of the best defensive players in the NCAA last season, but will those skills translate to the next level?


SB Nation is posting scouting reports of each prospect in the 2013 NBA Draft. Learn more about Kansas big man Jeff Withey.

NAME: Jeff Withey

SCHOOL: Kansas

AGE ON DRAFT NIGHT: 23 years, three months


MEASUREMENTS: 6'11.5, 222 pounds, 7'1.5 wingspan.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Jeff Withey 37 30.9 5.0 8.6 58.2 0.0 0.0 100.0 3.7 5.2 71.4 2.1 6.4 8.5 0.9 2.0 0.8 3.9 2.1 13.7

RELEVANT ADVANCED STATS: 13.7% block percentage this season. That's higher than Nerlens Noel's.


NBA CEILING: Greg Stiemsma.

NBA FLOOR: NBA Developmental League.


When Jeff Withey first came to Kansas, many doubted whether he would ever be able to crack the rotation. Like a number of other big men under Bill Self, he slowly developed into an NBA player at Lawrence. This season, Withey averaged 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks per game on 58 percent shooting.

Statistically, he was one of the best defensive players in the country. Withey is a 7-foot, 220-pound former volleyball player with a 7'2 wingspan. If you stick him at the front of the rim, it's going to be very hard to dunk on him.

In college, he was a functional passer who could play the high/low game and score over the top of shorter defenders. The problem is, given his narrow frame and high center of gravity, he'll be pushed off the block by most centers at the next level.

To have a long career in the NBA, Withey will need to be able to hold his own on the defensive glass. A consistent 15-20-foot jumper wouldn't hurt either.



Nets Daily:

He's a defensive big man, aged, which is fine for this team, who can step in and play 10-15 minutes off the bench behind Brook Lopez. That would allow for the Nets to move Andray Blatche to power forward as needed, and at the very least give them options in rotating their bigs. It doesn't solve the problem, but it helps.

Celtics Blog:

What makes a lot of Withey's blocks special is the fact that he avoids fouling the player and when a block is made, he directs it towards teammates to create an offensive opportunity. Withey only committed 2.1 fouls per game as a senior, which is remarkable considering he averaged 31 minutes per game. He shows great fundamentals by jumping straight up into the air, not towards the man, when attempting a blocked shot; This makes it hard for a foul to be called on him. When a block is made, the ball rarely goes flying out of bounds, instead Withey directs it towards a teammate or keeps it inbounds, giving his team an opportunity on offense.

Posting and Toasting:

Withey isn't the most offensively gifted center in the field (that mark would probably go to Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk, and not just because I'm a Gonzaga fan), but Withey can hold his own based on his strong finishing skills (According to DE, Withey was the top finisher in all of college basketball last season, converting 79% of non post-up situations). Withey uses his length and jumping ability to play above the rim well, and although he didn't display it much during the season (a modest 14 jump shots taken all season), he has the mechanics that could turn into a decent mid-range shot.

Another positive I found is Withey's increased FG% from his junior to senior years. With more integral role after the departure of Thomas Robinson, Withey saw a minutes increase (about 5 more minutes per game) and a shots increase (took 100 more shots than his junior year). His shooting percentage went up about 5 points, which is a positive sign in my book. Was it because of versatility? No. But he is still making the shots that he takes (58%, 62 TS%). That's important on the next level, especially if the Knicks actually look to use more PnR/drive-and-dish plays next year.

Blog a Bull:

Withey is the worst offensive rebounding center draft prospect of the last three years. I see this as a pretty strong condemnation of his assertiveness, physical toughness and the way he uses his size and athleticism.

Withey is also a very uncreative player. He needs his hand held getting buckets, and is below average at setting up others to score. No center prospect in the last three years needed more help getting jump shot opportunities (73% assisted on 2-pointers), and only two guys needed more help getting buckets at the rim (70% assisted at rim). His assist rate and assist-to-turnover ratio are both below average for a center prospect. This suggests Withey has a poor skill level.

It is not at all clear Withey is an above average athlete for an NBA center. I think he would have to be for me to be really comfortable with him as a prospect. Considering this, his age, his skill level and lack of strength, I would probably regard Withey as at best a boring selection.

For more coverage, visit SB Nation's NBA Draft 2013 section.