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Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Jeff Withey

Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag.

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-11, 240 pounds, senior center from the University of Kansas 
  • Key Stats: 13.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.9 blocks per game; shot 58 percent from the field. 
  • Projected: Mid-first round.
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

There are a lot of scatter-brained, potentially inebriated ideas that college students concoct — some great and some bad. But you’ve got to give it up, the cult following that Withey had during his four year’s at Kansas are pretty hilarious.

Not only did he have a parody Twitter account called @FakeJeffWithey, which is how I really hope he acts, if just for hilarity’s sake, but he’s also got two websites dedicated to his presence.

First you’ve got WitheyBlockParty.com which is literally a blog featuring a boatload of Withey’s blocks at KU. He had 286 in his final two seasons, and by listening to the calls of each block, you’d think the Kansas announcers had never seen him block a shot. There was actually a Twitter hashtag, #witheyblockparty, that was really a thing during the season and tournament, too.

The other goes by the name WitheyFace.com. If you’ve ever heard of ManningFace.com, you’ll know what this is. You’ll notice right off the bat that a snarling Jeff Withey closely resembles the Jayhawks logo. I’ll just leave you all with these 500 or so staring Withey faces…

Fits with the Pistons because …

There are a number of holes on the Pistons’ roster, but one of the more underrated ones is in the front court. The team already has it’s cornerstones in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, but with Jason Maxiell entering free agency and Charlie Villanueva being Charlie Villanueva, the Pistons need a third big man.

Withey’s biggest strength — shot blocking — is one of the Pistons’ biggest weaknesses. There’s the niche of fans under the assumption that the Pistons already have a Withey-like player in Slava Kravtsov, but Withey has an plus-NBA skill. Kravtsov lacks that.

There’s no reason a team wouldn’t want a guy like Withey on their team. Even if all he ends up being in the NBA is an above-average shot blocker from the weak side, he’s still got value. The question is where does that value start. The Pistons are drafting in the top-10, but not again until the early second round.

Withey would be a horrible reach in the early-to-mid lottery, but in the early second round, he’d be perfect. The chances of that aren’t great now, especially considering the kind of great-at-one-skill players like Withey are usually a value to contenders who can pick and choose when and how they use them later in a draft.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

He’s not going to help a sometimes-stagnant offense. For all the good that Withey brings on defense, he’s still somewhat easy to push around on the block and doesn’t have any semblance of a post game. That’s something that can be cultivated and developed, but he’s going to be a non-factor on offense early.

I’ve gushed about the shot blocking, but he’s not a great defender individually. There’s confusion sometimes between really good defenders and really good shot blockers — there’s a difference. Serge Ibaka is a GREAT shot blocker, but just an above-average defender. Right now, Withey’s a really good shot blocker, NBA caliber, but in college hoops, specifically the Big 12, you’re not facing any sort of real post threat.

The best example of that might be his struggles with Michigan freshman Mitch McGary in the Sweet 16. Withey was muscled around and tossed aside by McGary, whose post game is hardly refined, even by college standards. That’s scary if you’re a GM looking at Withey to be a key defender for you.

Fair or unfair, he’s also kind of been stereotyped as the big, goofy stiff who is bound to be a bust. The fact that his predecessor, Cole Aldrich, has really done nothing in three seasons with a very similar skill set doesn’t help, either.

From the Experts

Chad Ford:

If there was a shot-blocking drill where the goal was to block as many shots as possible without fouling the shooter, Withey would walk away with the prize handily. Alas, the focus on offense probably won’t speak to Withey’s strengths at the combine. Big men rarely have their stock helped or hurt at the combine — his real tests will come in workouts against Gorgui Dieng, Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert and Mason Plumlee.

DraftExpress:

Athletic 7-footers with great defensive instincts and excellent finishing ability don’t grow on trees, though, so there will surely be a market for his services this upcoming June. A playoff team drafting in the second half of the first round could be very happy picking a player who is well-coached, experienced and ready to compete from day one, as if he pans out, he could present excellent value to a NBA team playing on a rookie scale contract.

On film

16 Comments

  • May 17, 20139:25 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    I actually like Withey, he’s one of those guys fans are gonna love especially when he grows out a bad ass beard…give hard fouls to guys like Lebron an does not back down. He’s gonna take charges, tip out offensive rebounds ….

    Solid rotation guy for many years 

  • May 17, 201310:39 pm
    by G

    Reply

    I think Withey is an example of a TYPE of player the Pistons need, but they aren’t getting him unless they trade back, and if they DO trade back, I’d rather they draft Dieng. He’s got a better offensive game, and I think he projects as a better NBA defender.

    • May 19, 20139:56 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I don’t know, but I’m kinda expecting Dieng to go about 10 picks before Withey. Barring a trade, neither should be much on the Pistons’ radar. But I think bringing in one of them would be a significantly different trade than bringing in the other.

  • May 18, 201312:10 am
    by CNA5

    Reply

    At age 23, you would have to be pretty certain this guy can defend and rebound on the next level.  He’s kinda has a smaller frame for a 7-footer too.  I’m not sure if he can get much bigger than the 240 he’s listed.

    It was certainly eye opening how McGary owned him. 

  • May 18, 201312:36 am
    by Vince

    Reply

    I like Withey but in a draft filled with intriguing Centers he isn’t the best prospect. There are a lot of better options than him if we want defense, Louisville’s Gorgui Deng, Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams (I realllllly like him) or the two French towers that are Rudy Gobert and Mouhammadou Jaiteh come to mind.

    Withey, Deng and Gobert are projected to go mid/late in the first round and seeing how well Adams is doing at the Combine I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go in the first round as well. Jaiteh is probably the only solid  defensive prospect available with our first 2nd round pick. If the Pistons are going to trade down for a defensive minded big, they can do much better than Withey.

  • May 18, 20137:47 am
    by sop

    Reply

    Solid shot blocker with good size, limited offense, average athleticism and no fluidity.
    Withey is a fine pick if your in the mid to late 20s and need a big man to give you 20min a night. Since neither of these qualifiers match the Pistons he’s not much of topic.

  • May 18, 201311:02 am
    by ryan

    Reply

    Guys like Jeff Withey, Steven Adams and the rest are why I’d be happy to see us swap down especially if we could get Atlanta to give us a two for one deal. If we could somehow con OKC into swapping picks and Rodney Stuckey for Jeremey Lamb plus filler that’d be another good option.

    That’s not to say I don’t like Slava Kravtsov I’d just like to add another talented big man especially a guy like Withey who comes with a specific skill that we need and a good track record.

  • May 18, 201311:52 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Changing the subject a bit… the best thing that happened to Noel was that ACL… had he faced a guy like Withey ,or any other physical bigs his stock would have dropped … 6’10 – 6’11 206lbs and your name is not Durant is not impressive… Noel think will slip

    • May 18, 201311:57 am
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      as Shaq would call him barbque chicken…

  • May 18, 201312:34 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    if i am looking at a big guy late first, early second, i would look at the kid mike muscala of bucknell.
    he’s a nearly legit 7 footer – in shoes – and he shoots the heck out of the ball.  
    there is always a place in the league for a big guy who can shoot.  
    he also passes very well, rebounds well, and is a decent shot blocker.  in lots of ways he is very much like greg monroe, though he is a much better shooter.  
    definitely not the strongest or most athletic guy out there, but with a front court mate like drummond, you can afford to have a guy like muscala next to him.  probably could not play monroe and him too much at the same time, but otherwise, i think he’d be a great pick for the pistons early second round pick.
    muscala is like spencer hawes with a low post game and better rebounding, not a bad combination.
    unfortunately, i think he’ll probably go somewhere in the early 20s as he shot the highest percentage of anyone at the combine, an amazing factoid, considering the fact that he is an almost seven footer.  someone will probably gamble on him earlier. in fact, while monroe has an inch in wingspan on him, their dimensions are almost identical.
    i like withey and could definitely live with him, but muscala has a bigger upside. 

  • May 18, 20137:41 pm
    by Sop

    Reply

    Update Top 60
    Tier 1

    1.     Ben McLemore
     
    2.     Nerlens Noel
    Tier 2
     
    3.     Otto Porter
     
    4.     Victor Oladipo
     
    5.     Anthony Bennett
     
    6.     Trey Burke
    Tier 3
     
    7.     Cody Zeller
     
    8.     Alex Len
     
    9.     Michael Carter-Williams
     
    10. Shabazz Muhammad
     
    11.   C.J. McCollum
     
    12.  Dario Saric
    Tier 4
     
    13.  Mason Plumlee
     
    14.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
     
    15.  Sergey Karasev
     
    16.  Dennis Schroder
     
    17.  Jamaal Franklin
    Tier 5
     
    18.  Steven Adams
     
    19.  Kelly Olynyk
     
    20.  Gorgui Dieng
     
    21.  Jeff Withey
     
    22.  Rudy Gobert
    Tier 6
     
    23.  Glen Rice Jr.
     
    24. Allen Crabbe
     
    25.   Livio Jean Charles
     
    26.  Shane Larkin
     
    27.  Reggie Bullock
     
    28. Tim Hardaway Jr.
     
    29.  C.J. Leslie
     
    30.  Archie Goodwin
     
    31.  Tony Snell
     
    32.  Isaiah Canaan
     
    33.  Pierre Jackson
    Tier 7
     
    34.  Tony Mitchell
     
    35.  Alex Abrines
     
    36.  Giannis Adetokunbo
     
    37.  Mike Muscala
     
    38.  Ray McCallum Jr.
     
    39.  Lorenzo Brown
     
    40.  Erick Green
     
    41.  Deshaun Thomas
     
    42.  Lucas Nogueira
     
    43.  Vander Blue
     
    44.  Myck Kabongo
     
    45.   James Southerland
    Tier 8
     
    46.  B.J. Young
     
    47.  Cory Jefferson
     
    48.  Andre Roberson
     
    49.  Adonis Thomas
     
    50.  Grant Jerrett
     
    51.  Ricardo Ledo
     
    52.  Seth Curry
     
    53.  Nemanja Nedovic
     
    54.  Mouhammadou Jaiteh
     
    55.  Nate Wolters
     
    56.  Ryan Kelly
     
    57.  Khalif Wyatt
     
    58.  Brandon Davies
     
    59.  Brandon Paul
     
    60.  Richard Howell
     

    • May 18, 20138:43 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      The love affair with Porter continues … none of his athletic test stood out … he weighted in at 197 …at 6’8 ….  i just don’t get it for him to be a 2nd tier…

      I still believe you guys might be happy on draft day, because I can see him slipping 

      • May 19, 201310:08 am
        by tarsier

        Reply

        you seem as confused about porter as i was about smart

        • May 19, 201311:18 am
          by hereherehere

          Reply

          Ugliest jumpshot in basketball.

      • May 19, 20133:45 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        @ I HATE FRANK. It’s because I care less about measurables than production, or at least production against good competition. Yeah, he needs to get bigger and stronger, but that’s true of most guys entering the NBA. It’s especially true of guys that are 20 or younger because they haven’t fully developed yet. He might be an average athlete, but he’s the single most complete player in the draft. I like guys who are good at playing basketball, so I like Porter.

      • May 19, 20134:48 pm
        by sop

        Reply

        @ I HATE FRANK. How many BIG East games did you watch this year? How about the fact that he was second in Wooden Award voting despite being younger than anyone in the top 10 not named Marcus Smart? He can pass, shoot, post-up, defend, and he DOESN’T need the ball in his hands all the time in order to impact games (unlike McCollum, Shabazz, or Burke).

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