NBA Draft 2013: New York Knicks Should Draft Jeff Withey

Thomas Duffy@@TJDhoopsFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2013

May 16, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Jeff Withey is interviewed during the NBA Draft combine at Harrison Street Athletics Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

You can find NBA mock drafts all around the web, and nearly all of them point to a different player that the New York Knicks should take with the 24th pick in the 2013 Draft.

Some point to Shane Larkin (Yahoo), others to Ricardo Ledo (Bleacher Report), and some to European players. Chad Ford of ESPN, though, predicts that the Knicks will take Jeff Withey, the big center out of Kansas, and that would be the most ideal move for New York.

Tyson Chandler won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2011-12, and still remains a top-tier defensive center, but he can’t do it alone. 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.

Marcus Camby dealt with injuries all season long, and then, once he was healthy for the postseason, he didn’t play. Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace were relatively effective when they weren’t injured, but that was the problem—they always were.

So that leaves Chandler and the 35-year-old Martin to command the paint next year. Although he was awesome this season, another year of wear and tear will not help K-Mart's game, which relies mostly on dunking and blocking shots.

Chandler is 30 years old, but with the number of minutes he is playing, it won’t be long before he is on the sidelines as well. This season, Chandler played 32.8 minutes per game, which needs to be slightly reduced for him to be most effective.

Do the Knicks need scoring options outside of Carmelo Anthony? Yes—but the smarter way to go is to pick up a proven player, someone who can without a doubt score at the professional level. Whether or not Larkin, who is just 5’11”, or Ledo, who was declared academically ineligible for Providence this season, can do that is kind of a shot in the dark. The better alternative to fill the team's scoring needs is to do so through free agency or a trade.

In drafting Withey, the Knicks will greatly improve their frontcourt. The former Jayhawk stands at seven feet tall and contributed 13.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and nearly four blocks per game in his senior season at Kansas. He is limited offensively, but so is Chandler, and that's okay—the Knicks offense revolves around Anthony and the team’s ability to hit three-point shots, not interior post play.

Withey could come in and contribute right away off the bench, working himself into the rotation with Chandler and Martin. He can rebound and block shots, which are two things that New York really lacked this season.

The Knicks, like every other team in the NBA, have other holes that they need to fill going into 2013-14. But drafting Withey with the 24th overall selection in the 2013 Draft will satisfy one of team's biggest needs going into next season.