The New Orleans Pelicans were one of the teams that were reportedly in the running for Greg Oden as the former overall pick is trying to make a comeback into the NBA. As it all played out, though, Oden signed with the Miami Heat. Though Oden’s injury issues have a high possibility of resurfacing, he was also a player that New Orleans would have really benefitted from having him on their roster.
As New Orleans prepares for the upcoming season where they have the chance to be in the playoff-picture, the center position is easily their weak-point. With the departure of Robin Lopez, Greg Stiemsma, Jeff Withey and possibly Anthony Davis for stretches are going to be the guys that the Pelicans trot out at the five.
Davis at the five is interesting because of the small-ball lineups that the team will be able to run. With Stiemsma, the team pretty much knows what they are going to get after seeing him over two seasons in the league with other teams. However, the rookie Withey is somewhat of an unknown that is also rather intriguing.
Withey played four years at Kansas and had a good deal of success as a senior last year. In 30.9 minutes per game, he averaged 13.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and an unreal 3.9 blocks per game while shooting 58.2 percent from the floor.
While at the Las Vegas Summer League, Withey proved what we already knew from his college days. In four games in Sin City, Withey averaged four points, five rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 18 minutes per game while shooting 46.2 percent from the floor.
Withey is an effective rim-protector and rebounder, but he seems to have limited upside offensively. If he can come out and be competent on offense and continue to show promise on the defensive end of the floor, he’s going to be a solid addition and vital part of this Pelicans team.
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