Articles

Wesley Witherspoon

SF Memphis 6'8" 200 lbs 1/27/90

If a guy can play and guard up to three or four positions at the college level, he's usually considered a team's best player, as this kind of versatility suggests a world-class athlete with the kind of size that makes him a matchup nightmare. But Wesley Witherspoon was only the 4th or 5th-best player this past season for Josh Pastner and the Memphis Tigers. Despite being able to bring a little bit of everything to the table, Witherspoon never really excelled in any one particular aspect of the game, and it's hard to see him being able to shed the "tweener" label that can be the scarlet letter for many draft prospects.

 

Most publications list Witherspoon as a G/F, but he actually played heavy minutes at the 4 position as a senior. At 6'9'', he'd have to display a much better handle to be considered for guard minutes at the next level, but he's simply too robotic and linear to be trusted to do anything with the dribble. When he's on the floor with two other forwards is when Witherspoon's size comes into play most, as he's capable of navigating through traffic off the ball for efficient catch-and-shoot jumpers and shows soft hands in receiving the ball as a slasher. He can occasionally knock down the 3 in spot-up situations since few defenders can challenge his shot from the perimeter, but he can't create that shot for himself. Witherspoon's shot would appear to be very block-able at the next level, since he doesn't get good elevation and sort of pushes the ball from his neck rather than raising up. When guarded by bigs, Witherspoon can get momentum going to the basket with a dribble or two and hang in the air long enough to hit some tough shots off the glass, but he has no back-to-the-basket game and isn't strong enough to bang down low and earn garbage buckets.

 

Defensively, Witherspoon is a mixed bag. Though he can bother perimeter shooters with his length, his average lateral quickness makes it hard for him to stay in front of most wing players, which is disappointing when you consider his svelte frame. He also lacks the explosiveness to get up and block shots, and at times, it appears as if he doesn't know who he should be guarding. As is the case with his sub-par rebounding ability, his lack of strength and leverage make him easy to push around down low. It should be noted, however, that he's able to create a lot of turnovers with his quick hands, length, and anticipation. At the end of the day, he's more of an area defender best suited for a zone defense, which unfortunately for him is only used in spurts at the pro level.

 

Wesley Witherspoon probably should've left for the NBA when he first intended to, a couple years ago. Since then, he's managed to hurt his knee, an injury that required surgery and perhaps robbed him of a bit of his athleticism. Over his final two years in school, he didn't do much to improve his game other than develop a more respectable jumper, and scouts aren't going to like his shooting mechanics. It's hard to figure out what position he could play in the pros and it would be a big surprise if he got drafted.

 

Rank                   114th Overall (22nd SF)

Projection            Undrafted

Strengths            Versatililty

                          Can do multiple things offensively

                          Good in transition

Weaknesses      Ball-handling

                          Inconsistent