On Thursday night at the NBA Draft, the Portland Trailblazers made a steal in selecting center Jeff Withey from Kansas at 39. Withey, was expected to get selected from the 24th pick to 35th, only to slide a little to Portland.
The Blazers are a team in flux, as they prepare to move on without JJ Hickson at center. Last season, the 6-9 player starred at center, as the team opted to give 7-0 center Meyers Leonard more time in developing. Portland picked Leonard with the 11th selection last year. Now the team needs another option at the position, and are thrilled Withey dropped to them.
Withey was the second former Kansas Jayhawk picked in this draft. Last season, Withey averaged 14 points and nine rebounds per contest. His numbers have steadily improved each season, as he have added the ability to block shots among the elite of the nation. Last year, Withey made 146 blocks over the season, an average of almost four blocks per game. This defense is something the Blazers lacked last season as they stumbled down the stretch in winning 12 of their final 46 games.
Withey figures to battle with Leonard for the starting center position unless the team adds a more experienced piece.
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