New Orleans Pelicans 2013 Player Profile: Jeff Withey

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Withey is a rookie who can hopefully give the New Orleans Pelicans the type of defense they so sorely need in the physical NBA style of play.

He went in the 39th pick by the Portland Trail Blazers and then was traded to New Orleans in a deal that also involved the Sacramento Kings.

Defensive skills is especially what Withey brings to the table.

Withey is likely to give the Pelicans a better effort on defense than what they witnessed this past season. He’s at 7-foot, 235 pounds and averaged 8.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 19.8 minutes in 117 games over four seasons at Kansas.

For Kansas last season alone, Withey averaged 13.7. points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game. During the Pelicans’ Summer League, he led the team with 1.5 blocks per game. He was Kansas’ all-time career blocked shots leader at 312, which also led the Big-12 Conference. He was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior.

His huge body, combined with his skill, has plenty of potential to give the Pelicans the solid defense they need inside. The team is hoping that Withey adjusts to the NBA style of play fast enough to be a feared defender. They are expecting him to be a major impact player for them as a rookie.

Withey shot 58.2 percent from the floor and 71.4 percent from the free-throw line in college. The Pelicans were impressed with the way he moves around the basket and the way he can convert shots. Now it’s a matter of taking that from the collegiate to the professional level.

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