Sharife Cooper issues immediate reaction to earning new opportunity with Cavs

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Young guard Sharife Cooper reacted on social media to Monday’s news of him earning a 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cooper has spent the 2023-24 campaign in the G League with the Cleveland Charge, appearing in 19 regular season games (all starts) while averaging 18.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game.

A second-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, Cooper has played in 13 games in his NBA career (all for the Hawks). All of his NBA playing time also came during the 2021-22 season.

In the NBA, Cooper has averaged 0.5 points, 0.4 rebounds and 0.4 assists in 3.0 minutes per game.

Despite a lack of playing time at the NBA level, the Auburn University product has thrived at the G League level for quite some time, averaging at least 17 points per game in each of the last three regular seasons (including this one). In the 2022-23 regular season, Cooper averaged 21.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game for the Charge.

The Cavs have a lot of depth at the guard position now that Darius Garland is healthy, especially since the team converted Craig Porter Jr.’s deal to a full-time NBA contract earlier this month. He had previously been on a two-way deal.

Unfortunately for Cooper, the Cavs chose to use their open two-way spot on forward Pete Nance, but the team is still giving the 22-year-old guard a chance to prove he belongs at the NBA level.

This is a solid situation for Cooper, a smaller guard, to work alongside Donovan Mitchell and Garland, who have both found ways to succeed in the NBA despite being smaller in stature. Both players have been named All-Stars in their careers, and Mitchell was an All-NBA selection last season.

While it’s unlikely Cooper will go from a 10-day player to an All-Star, he will still have the chance to learn from both players in practice and in games to help him going forward in his career.

Over the next 10 days, the Cavs play the Dallas Mavericks (Feb. 27), Chicago Bulls (Feb. 28), Detroit Pistons (March 1), New York Knicks (March 3), Boston Celtics (March 5) and Atlanta Hawks (March 6).

That gives Cooper a lot of chances to find himself in action for Cleveland, especially if the team rests players on the second night of one of its back-to-backs.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.