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New York Knicks 2013 NBA Draft Watch: Jeff Withey

June 2nd, 2013 at 8:00 AM
By Matt Agne

The frontcourt is one area the New York Knicks might look to address in the 2013 NBA Draft. With Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire both big priced big men with injury concerns the Knicks may look to draft someone who can join the rotation as a backup and be groomed for a starting role in the future. With Marcus Camby the only signed backup big going into free agency, the frontcourt may very well be where the Knicks choose to go with the 24th pick. If he's available Jeff Withey out of Kansas could answer the New York's needs for a young and athletic big man.

'Jeff Withey' photo (c) 2012, SD Dirk - license:

It’s far from a guarantee that Jeff Withey will be around for the New York Knicks when their 24th selection spot roles around. However, the polished Kansas big could make an immediate impact as a rotation player. He's a guy who could rotate with Tyson Chandler without losing anything on either side of the ball, especially defensively.

The fact is, the Knicks need some size off the bench. Their aging frontcourt broken down health-wise this season and the Knicks were greatly weakened by not being able to rely on Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas or Marcus Camby for most of the year.

Going into the season the Knicks thought they'd be built to play big and have a major advantage over the Miami Heat. Instead, they found themselves falling victim to that same disadvantage in their final series against the Indiana Pacers. That's where picking a big with the 24th pick comes in. The Knicks might want to rely more on veterans but it's time they added a big with some youth to hopefully have some kind of consistent health in their frontcourt off the bench. 

Withey is a player who can contribute right away. His defensive skills should translate well to NBA play so he should help from a defensive standpoint immediately. Had the Knicks not made a key move in picking up Kenyon Martin towards the end of the season, Chandler would have been the lone contributing big on the team. That's what makes drafting Withey an ideal move for New York.

Drafting Withey would greatly improve the Knicks frontcourt. He stands 7'0", 235 pounds and averaged 13.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and nearly four blocks a contest during his senior season for the Kansas Jayhawks. The fact is, he's limited offensively. However, that's shouldn't really matter since Chandler is as well and the Knicks offense revolves around Carmelo Anthony and three-point shooting, instead of interior post play.

Withey does the little things that championship teams need from their bench players. He rebounds and block shots, two things the Knicks aren't very good at. Drafting Withey could satisfy one of team's biggest needs going into next season.

Withey plays fantastic defense and knows how to control the inside. He could be a perfect fit to come off the bench and eventually take Chandler’s starting spot. Withey's a great weak-side shot blocker and help defender. He should continue to improve as a rebounder as well.

While his offensive game is definitely behind his defense he is a good free throw shooter and has a decent mid-range jumper that could develop into a consistent threat with coaching and hard work. He also runs the floor very well and is a good finisher on the fast break.

The fact is, Mike Woodson doesn't often play rookies. However, in New York Withey could learn the position under the tutelage of Chandler and Camby who have years of NBA experience to share. Will Jeff see the court? Additionally, Withey's ability to contribute defensively could endear him to Woodson.

Even if he was only given 10-15 minutes a game, Withey should be able to help New York greatly. The team certainly has a huge need for youth and size. Those are two things Withey can provide immediately.



Tags: Amare Stoudemire, Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, Indiana Pacers, Jeff Withey, Kansas, Kansas Jayhawks, Kenyon Martin, Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, Miami Heat, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Tyson Chandler

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