Welcome to the NBA

Welcome To The NBA: Jeff Withey

No matter how well a rookie plays in his first season, there invariably comes a moment where he gets somewhat humbled on the court by an NBA veteran. Here at All Ball, we’ll do our best all season to keep track of these moments, which we’re calling “Welcome to the NBA” …

By Jeff Case

This might be our best (or, if you’re the victim, worst) one yet.

A quick look at the Draft bio for center Jeff Withey tells you all you need to know about his days at Kansas. As a senior, he racked up second-team All-American and NABC Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors, broke his own Big 12 and school record for blocks (146) and led the league and was No. 2 in the nation in blocks.

Basically, the man knows where to be in the paint on defense.

Such was the case last night at Staples Center for Withey, who is a backup center for the New Orleans Pelicans. Nick Young drives the paint and looks to dish to Chris Kaman, but Withey cuts off Young and forces a pass that Kaman nearly loses out of bounds. Kaman kicks the ball out to Shawne Williams, who then dishes to Xavier Henry at the top of the key.

All the while, Withey is sticking close to Kaman while monitoring the paint. He sees Henry fake a pass to Jordan Farmar on the right wing and start his drive. Withey tries to get set outside the charge circle (his heels are on the line, though), readies for impact, and then … yikes … posterized by Henry!


VIDEO: Xavier Henry posterizes rookie Jeff Withey

Perhaps even worse for Withey is this was all done to him by a fellow Jayhawks alum in Henry. In fact, the two were teammates during the 2009-10 season at KU. Who knows, maybe this happened at practice or at countless pickup/alumni classic games at Allen Fieldhouse. But now, surely to Withey’s dismay, it’s been saved for all the world to see over and over again.

BONUS!!! Hat tip to the folks at Ballislife.com for this additional angle of the Jayhawk-on-Jayhawk crime last night:

In case you’ve lost track at home, our list of Welcome victims reads as follows: Victor Oladipo, Tony Snell, Pero Antic and Vitor Faverani. Who will be next?

Welcome To The NBA: Vitor Faverani

No matter how well a rookie plays in his first season, there invariably comes a moment where he gets somewhat humbled on the court by an NBA veteran. Here at All Ball, we’ll do our best all season to keep track of these moments, which we’re calling “Welcome to the NBA” …

By Jeff Case

Undrafted rookie big man Vitor Faverani has been a nice find for the Celtics in the season’s early going. He had two solid, early performances, including 13 points and three blocks in the season-opener vs. Toronto and 12 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks against the Bucks on Nov. 1. His minutes have dried up a bit of late — due mostly to the improved play of veterans Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger — but he logged 27 minutes against the Grizzlies and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol.

Faverani got a good look at why Gasol is one of the more polished offensive post players in the NBA, though, the other night. Gasol catches the ball after setting a pick for Mike Conley, fakes a jump shot and then backs down Faverani. Gasol then turns into the paint and puts up a nice scoop shot under the outstretched arms of Faverani.


VIDEO: Marc Gasol puts a nice post move on rookie Vitor Faverani

Can’t fault Faverani too much here … he played Gasol about as well as you can play him. And, barring something worse than this, his Welcome to the NBA moment has come and gone.

Welcome To The NBA: Pero Antic

No matter how well a rookie plays in his first season, there invariably comes a moment where he gets somewhat humbled on the court by an NBA veteran. Here at All Ball, we’ll do our best all season to keep track of these moments, which we’re calling “Welcome to the NBA” …

By Jeff Case

At 6-foot-11 and 260 pounds, Macedonian-born rookie Pero Antic of the Atlanta Hawks is literally one of the biggest rookies in the league this year. In a preseason interview with Hawks.com, Antic told the website how he hoped to model his game after that of his All-Star frontcourt teammate, Al Horford. He may need to huddle up with Horford, though, after he got his official NBA welcome the other night in Denver.

Antic was out at the 3-point line hoisting up a deep 3-point jumper with about 5 minutes left in the first quarter. Keep in mind that Horford has attempted just seven 3-pointers in his career. Antic is never going to be an exact replica of Horford … he’s his own man and player and will carve out whatever role he can in the NBA. But the 31-year-old rookie will probably think twice about a slow-release 3-pointer the next time Denver is in town.

Back to Antic’s moment … that 3-pointer gets swatted by the Nuggets’ J.J. Hickson, who then takes it the length of the court for a breakaway two-handed jam.


VIDEO: Pero Antic gets his 3-pointer swatted by J.J. Hickson

We’ve got three rookies on our list now: Antic, the Bulls’ Tony Snell and the Magic’s Victor Oladipo. Who will be next?

Welcome To The NBA: Tony Snell

No matter how well a rookie plays in his first season, there invariably comes a moment where he gets somewhat humbled on the court by an NBA veteran. Here at All Ball, we’ll do our best all season to keep track of these moments, which we’re calling “Welcome to the NBA” …

By Jeff Case

A short trek around the Internet after the 2013 Draft found most pundits praising the Bulls’ selection of former New Mexico standout Tony Snell with the 20th pick. The shooting guard was seen as a player who could help spread the floor for the Bulls with his shooting range and someone with the potential to be a good defender.

Snell isn’t seen as a key cog for the contending Bulls this season — at least not yet — but he got his first taste of real NBA action last night against the defending-champion Miami Heat. He checked in with 6:44 to play in the second quarter of last night’s game, took (and missed) a 3-pointer with 5:20 left and, seconds later, got his Welcome To The NBA moment from the MVP, LeBron James.

After Snell’s miss, the Bulls ran back in transition and he found himself guarding James after the Heat star got the ball off a long pass from Norris Cole. James waited for a second, spun baseline and hop-stepped for an and-one layup.


VIDEO: LeBron James spins baseline and scores on Tony Snell

The good news for Snell is it’s a long season and, of course, this isn’t the first (or last) player LeBron will victimize in 2013-14. And, in comparison to how Paul George treated fellow rookie Victor Oladipo on the same night, Snell got off kind of easy.

Welcome To The NBA: Victor Oladipo

No matter how well a rookie plays in his first season, there invariably comes a moment where he gets somewhat humbled on the court by an NBA veteran. Here at All Ball, we’ll do our best all season to keep track of these moments, which we’re calling “Welcome to the NBA” …

By Jeff Case

Former Indiana Hooisers star Victor Oladipo is seen as the future for the Orlando Magic in their rebuilding efforts. His first game in the NBA, a homecoming of sorts vs. the Pacers, wasn’t awful — and it wasn’t great, either. On the good side, he ended up with 12 points, took seven of his 11 shots near the basket, had three rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes off the bench. On the bad side, he was a minus-11, had three turnovers and two fouls. And, oh yeah, the Magic lost 97-87 to the Pacers, too.

But another good side for Oladipo? Pacers All-Star Paul George gave him his “Welcome to the NBA” moment early in the season, courtesy of this weakside block on the rookie during a Magic fastbreak:


VIDEO: Paul George gets up to reject Victor Oladipo’s layup