Now that we’re in the All-Star break, it only makes sense to look back at how Nets players have performed so far this season. Stay tuned over the break as Nets are Scorching evaluates the entire roster.
Stats: 27 G, 3.2 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG, .390 FG%, .400 3P%, .618 FT%, 15.0 PER
Preseason expectations: “Ben Uzoh was undrafted, so the Nets’ chance on him doesn’t really come with any risks. Should Uzoh claw his way into the rotation (which is unlikely considering the wealth of talent at the two guard spots for the Nets), he can serve as a effort player on defense and contribute with powerful finishes at the basket and the occasional jumper on offense.”
The Good: The third-string Uzoh has played more minutes than expected this season, as injuries to Devin Harris & Jordan Farmar forced him into the backup role. As an undrafted rookie, Uzoh has looked surprisingly not lost on the court – he’s far from a contributing NBA player, but he’s filled his small role as a hustle third-string without much issue and for a rookie is a surprisingly adept defensive player. It’s a small sample size, but per 36 minutes Uzoh is averaging 12.6-5.8-5.5. Not bad for a guy that was passed on for 60 straight picks.
The Bad: Because of low expectations, it’s hard to criticize a guy who’s played under 250 minutes as a third-string point guard. However, there are a couple of issues with Uzoh. He hasn’t proven to be particularly adept at the pick and roll – like most Nets guards, he seems content barreling to the basket with tunnel vision and throwing up a brick. He’s not a great jump shooter or a great passer. In the eight games he’s been given over a quarter’s worth of time, he’s shot 10-33 from the field. He’s usually playing with the other bench players, so some of the issues are understandable. But for a team that lacks a pass-first point guard, you’d think at least the last backup would be trying to give the team something new.
The Extra: Uzoh’s partially guaranteed deal with the Nets became fully guaranteed on January 5th. According to Colin Stephenson of the Star-Ledger, Uzoh couldn’t believe it.
“He called me in his office, I thought it was – I didn’t know what I did,” Uzoh said. “I thought I did something wrong. He called me into his office before shootaround and he told me. I was like, ‘Thank you!’ I just started smiling. I appreciated it.”
Final Grade: Truthfully, Uzoh wasn’t expected to perform at a great level, so given how he has played it’d be hard to give him too harsh a grade. He’s definitely got a lot of things to work on to be a consistent NBA player, but he’s filled his role well enough to earn a full guarantee. Grade: C+