On Friday, the Washington Wizards announced that the team had signed former Iowa standout and journeyman pro Jarrod Uthoff as a substitute player ahead of the NBA's resumption of the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Florida on July 30. As reported by Wizards insider Ava Wallace via Twitter, Washington coach Scott Brooks declined to say which player Uthoff would be replacing.
The 6-foot-9, 221-pound Uthoff has spent most of the current season with the Memphis Hustle, the G League affiliate club of the Memphis Grizzlies. Over 34 games with the club, all of which were starts, the 27-year-old averaged nearly 19 points and 11 rebounds per contest, as well 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks in just under 35 minutes per game.
For his efforts, the former collegiate consensus All-American earned All-G League honors.
Uthoff was also given a look by the Hustle's parent club, signing a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies in late February. Prior to the league's move to suspend play less than two weeks later in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Uthoff appeared in four games for the Grizzlies, but only saw a combined 14 minutes of live action. He similarly appeared in just nine games for the Dallas Mavericks during the 2016-17 season.
Uthoff has also spent time with the Russian club Zenit Saint Petersburg, in addition to multiple other G League squads.
Although Brooks would not identify whose roster spot Uthoff will be taking, one player who definitely won't be joining the Wizards on the court for their upcoming eight-game seeding slate is the team's leading scorer, all-star guard Bradley Beal. On July 7, the Wizards announced that Beal would not participate in the league's bubble environment restart due to a right rotator cuff injury.
Beal, however, is ineligible to be replaced by a substitute player due to the fact that he is injured. In June, the NBA revealed that a substitute player can only be signed to take the place of someone who opts out due to health reasons or has been formally excused by their team. Thus, Uthoff would have to have been signed as a substitute for another player on the Wizards' roster.
In any case, Uthoff could provide outside shooting at the back end of the bench for a Wizards team known for their long-range attack, ranking third league-wide in three-point percentage at 37.2 percent. Uthoff connected on nearly 37 percent of his three-point attempts with the Hustle this season while taking almost six long-range shots per game.
Entering bubble play, the Wizards sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference at 24-40, trailing the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic by 5.5 games for the final playoff spot.
In other Wizards news, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report suggested that the team could consider pursuing Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner after the season, proposing a trade package that included Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr., Thomas Bryant and an unprotected 2021 first-round pick.