With the news that Kyrie Irving is expected to miss at least two more games due to concussion symptoms, the Cleveland Cavaliers needed to make a move. That move came on Friday with the signing of Ben Uzoh from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA D-League to a ten-day contract.
Uzoh is having a stellar season at the NBADL level, averaging 16.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists (good for a 20.92 EFF) per game. The 6'3" point guard has an impressive wingspan and was a terrific scorer in college at the University of Tulsa.
The former Golden Hurricane got some scratch with the New Jersey Nets a season ago, playing in 42 games, but shooting just 42.4 percent. He tried his luck for a bit overseas before returning back to the states, and almost made the Charlotte Bobcats roster out of training camp. Scott Schroeder from Ridiculous Upside had this to say about the scoring combo guard back in late January:
Uzoh certainly seems to be less reluctant in shooting this season, but the biggest key thus far has been his ability to get out and go while playing in head coach Nick Nurse's high-paced offense. Nurse, an assistant with the Great Britain National Team, allows his team to get out in transition quite a bit in a unique offense that often substitutes complete line changes as it isn't uncommon to see five players waiting to sub in along the sideline.
Uzoh probably isn't a pure point quite yet, but he's the type of player that could be called-up to fill a fifth guard spot while handling point guard duties in limited stretches. He isn't going to offer much on the offensive end as far as supplying his own offense is concerned, but he seems to make the right decisions more often than not as he's averaging just two turnovers in 38 minutes per game while playing the one at the D-League level.
Schroeder also wrote this week about the top players up for a ten-day contract, and Uzoh was number two among point guards.
Scout's Take: "Ben made the NBA as an undrafted rookie last season and should get a look sometime soon again this year. He has good size for the NBA, he's very quick and has the ability to get in the lane and make things happen. He needs to improve his shooting and consistency, but he's physically ready to help a team today."
Seems like the kind of guy to fit in well with Byron Scott's up-tempo style, and a good stopgap for as long as Kyrie Irving is out. Here's hoping Uzoh plays well while he's on the Cavs, and that this opportunity is exactly what he needs to succeed.