Jeff Withey to work out for Knicks, Nets

Kansas center Jeff Withey, who's projected to be a late first-round pick, will work out for the Knicks and Nets before the June 27 draft, his agent, Darren Matsubara, confirmed with ESPNNewYork.com.

Most pre-draft workouts for NBA teams start on Monday.

Both the Nets and Knicks could use another backup big man, and Withey, 23, is noted for his shot blocking. The 7-0, 235-pound center averaged 3.9 swats last season -- third-best in Division I men's basketball.

"Mike Woodson is very defensive-oriented and Jeff is going to protect that rim," Matsubara said. "I think he will show some people a little bit that he can shoot from the perimeter, but that wasn't what he had to do when he was at Kansas."

The Knicks have the 24th pick in the draft, and Matsubara likes that positioning for his client, while the Nets have the 22nd pick.

"I've known Mike for a while now and [the Knicks] could be a pretty good fit," Matsubara said. "He's someone that could maybe step in there and give Tyson [Chandler] a breather when he needs it."

Matsubara also discussed how Withey, who averaged 13.7 points and 8.5 rebounds as a fifth-year senior at Kansas, needs to improve.

"I think as good of a shot-blocker he is, he has to master that at the next level as well," he said. "Offensively, what comes is what comes. He's not going to be a first option, he's not going to be a second option. He'll find his niche offensively, but one of the things physically he's got to do is really get more flexible. He plays a little bit erect, and that will change with specialized training. Also, his dad is a weightlifter and he's a big, strong man, so Jeff is going to get stronger naturally."

The Knicks are also likely to work out Louisville center Gorgui Dieng, who, like Withey, is projected to be selected in the late first round and is represented by Wasserman. The 6-11, 245-pound Dieng averaged 9.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks as a junior. He's noted for his pick-and-roll finishing, offensive rebounding and defensive athleticism showing on screens and still protecting the rim.

However, because Withey and Dieng don't yet excel offensively on the block, the Knicks might be more inclined to draft a point guard and sign a free-agent big man who can defend and is a more seasoned scorer down low. Some attractive, affordable options could include: Al-Farouq Aminu, Andray Blatche, Elton Brand, Dante Cunningham (team option), Samuel Dalembert, J.J. Hickson, Gani Lawal, Jason Maxiell, Anthony Tolliver and Chris Wilcox. Jerome Jordan and likely Henry Sims will both be on the Knicks' summer league team in Las Vegas.

Usually it takes bigs longer than guards to adjust to the speed and physicality of the NBA game. And right now, the last thing Woodson and the Knicks want to do is develop young players. Because they're in win-now mode, the team might not feel compelled to find a backup through the draft. Therefore, taking the best available player at their pick could be the game plan. If Withey or Dieng fall to No. 22 or 24, the Knicks or Nets could get the steal of the first round.

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