Mar 24, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Jeff Withey (5) reacts after a score with teammate Elijah Johnson (15) against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second half during the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans Officially Sign Jeff Withey

It would appear New Orleans liked what they saw from Withey in Las Vegas Summer League. His talents as a defensive specialist shined through, and he averaged 1.5 blocks per game for the Pelicans, just as they had hoped.

Withey was originally drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 39th pick in this year’s draft, but was traded to the Pelicans in the deal that brought Robin Lopez to Portland. From a “right now” standpoint, it was a smart move, but time will tell if it was truly beneficial in the long run.

Anthony Davis is anticipated to start at center for the Pelicans in the 2013-2014 season, so Withey will have a high-level peer to play with. Withey is 3 years older than Davis, and having spent 4 years at Kansas, he may be quick to learn, and even teach.

If the Pelicans land free agent, Greg Oden, however, his spot in the lineup becomes hazy. It is possible that the Pelicans would play Anthony Davis at power forward again (pushing Ryan Anderson to the bench) in order to start Oden, but it is also possible that Withey simply becomes 3rd string behind the Brow and the Wrinkles.

Of course, we won’t know how this turns out until Oden makes his decision sometime this week, but the prospect of two Portland ‘What Ifs’ playing on the same team at the same time is worth monitoring.

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