Royce O'Neale Rumors

All NBA Players
#23
Royce O'Neale
Royce O'Neale
Position: F
Born: 06/05/93
Height: 6-6 / 1.98
Weight:215 lbs. / 97.5 kg.
Salary: $1,618,520
But O’Neale has been a rock the past two years for the Jazz, and he’ll be one of the most important cogs in a wheel that hopes to still be rolling once next June comes around. At the very least, he’ll be in Quin Snyder’s top seven. There’s a chance he’s a starter, depending on what the Jazz decide to do with Ingles at the beginning of games. He’s for sure Utah’s best and most consistent perimeter defender. LeBron James. Kawhi Leonard. James Harden. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and Steph Curry. At some point, the Jazz will trust O’Neale to try to slow all of those guys down. “The thing we love about Royce is his capacity for work,” Jazz executive vice president Dennis Lindsey told The Athletic. “He loves the gym, and he loves the grind. And he has a body that doesn’t wear down.”
He’s worked tirelessly on his skills, attempting to develop from the 3-point line, which has given him the option as a floor spacer offensively. Those attributes are reasons he may find himself anointed a starter for the first time in his career. “He’s very strong, he has great feet and balance,” Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell said. “He doesn’t reach and he’s composed. His physicality and mentality is great. He understands what’s expected of him. “His preparation and instincts separate him. He could be one of the best defenders in the league, he really has those tools.”
The game got a bit heated early when Utah’s Derrick Favors and Denver’s Mason Plumlee were both ejected with 2:46 left in the first quarter. The two shoved each either under the Nuggets basket, leading to more shoving from multiple players on both teams. Favors and Plumlee each received a technical foul, as did Utah’s Royce O’Neale and Denver’s Will Barton for pushing and shoving in the scrum. Favors finished with two rebounds and zero points in five minutes. Plumlee tallied two points, a rebound and a block in four minutes.
O’Neale wants more in his second season. He’s spent a good chunk of his summer working with Jazz assistant Lamar Skeeter on his ball-handling, aiming to become more of a threat off the dribble. O’Neale also has worked on his shooting — the Jazz would like him to be a 40-percent 3-point shooter — and on becoming stronger. O’Neale showed signs of being able to initiate pick-and-roll toward the end of the season and Utah wants him to expand on that in the coming season. O’Neale also spent time in Houston this summer, working out with reigning NBA MVP James Harden and Chris Paul. O’Neale and strength coach Jasper Bibbs also did some workouts in Miami. In between all of that, O’Neale participated in the Junior Jazz tour, played in Harden’s charity softball game in Houston, and held a charity bowling event last week. It has been quite the summer.
O’Neale’s production only increased during the playoffs, as he averaged 23.5 minutes over 11 games, and started the entire second round at shooting guard when Ricky Rubio got injured and Donovan Mitchell shifted to point guard. “Dream come true, really,” O’Neale said of his season at the Jazz’s exit interviews after Game 5. “Just fighting for that last roster spot, not knowing what to expect coming into the season, being on a team and just working hard each day, growing as a person on and off the court and just taking advantage of the opportunity that Coach gave me.”
He fully recognizes the need to continue to improve, though, and particularly wants to get better offensively after averaging exactly five points per game during the regular season and 7.1 during the postseason. “At the end of the day it’s a business,” he said. “Getting in (the NBA) will probably be the hardest part, but you gotta do what you have to do to stay in. You have to work hard each day, go the extra mile, because there’s always somebody that’s coming in, trying to take your spot, so just looking at that and just not being comfortable at all.”