I chat with Andy Bailey, from Bleacher Report, about Jeff Withey reportedly signing in Dallas and what it means for both sides.
After playing in Utah in each of the past two seasons, the former second round pick from the 2013 draft is reportedly signing with the Dallas Mavericks.
Jeff Withey is a seven-foot, 230 pound classic defensive anchor that spent time behind Rudy Gobert the past two seasons in Utah and Anthony Davis his first two years in the league. Now, with Utah electing not to re-sign him, he finds himself about to sign a partially guaranteed deal in Dallas where he hopes to impress enough for a roster spot.
I decided to reach out to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report and FanRagSports to give his insight on the Withey signing and what exactly Withey is as a player since Bailey follows the Jazz closely.
Me: In your opinion, what does this Jeff Withey deal mean for him and the Mavericks?
Bailey: “The possibility of Nerlens Noel playing elsewhere next season may be remote, but this deal with Jeff Withey could be insurance against that. He’s a solid defender, though nowhere near as versatile as Noel.
Since he entered the league for the 2013-14 season, Withey ranks 32nd among all players in Defensive Box Plus-Minus (DBPM) and seventh in Block Percentage. Noel is eighth in DBPM over the same stretch. Salah Mejri is ninth. So, if Noel does return, it could be tough for Withey to see much time on the floor. Plus, there’s the chance an aging Dirk Nowitzki has to spend more time at the 5 as well.”
Me: Withey had limited role in Utah, why was that?
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Bailey: “To start, Utah had a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and a 2nd Team All-NBA center ahead of Withey. Rudy Gobert’s minutes needed to be in the mid-30s, at least. And with Quin Snyder hoping to play some small-ball with Joe Johnson at the 4, Derrick Favors’ time there were limited. To keep his minutes up, Favors was forced into the backup 5 role. In fact, Basketball Reference estimates Favors played more 5 than 4 last season. Even with all the time Favors missed due to injuries, there simply wasn’t a ton of opportunity for Withey.”
Me: Still 27 years old, what could he bring to a team like Dallas off the bench?
Bailey: “If he gets a chance to play, Withey will be a solid anchor for a second-unit defense. He’s not great in space, but he’s not terrible either. And he makes up for a slight deficiency there by being a smart and dedicated rim protector.”
Me: Is there a current center in the league that would be Withey’s max level he could get to?
Bailey: “It’s tough to settle on a specific name. His game is most like paint-protecting rim rollers like Gobert or DeAndre Jordan. But of course, he’s not on the same physical level as those players.”
Special thanks to Andy for the Withey insight. You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewDBailey.
Ultimately, Withey might not make the regular season roster, but Dallas bringing in another big man to compete in training camp is still interesting.