Royce O’Neale’s career development has been absolutely fascinating to watch as a Utah Jazz fan. An undrafted free agent that’s now a key cog in a monster basketball wheel. He started out as the 14th most valuable player in the #JazzRank two years ago. Last year he moved up to 8th, and now he’s all the way up to 6th.
He’s gotten better pretty much across the board every year he’s been in the league. He’s done this while adapting to different roles and positions as well. So much so that he entered the season as the starting 4 for Quin Snyder this year. He’s the type of 3 and D player that every team would love to have.
Honestly, even last year there were times when I was nervous with the ball in his hands. He was still learning how to make the right reads, particularly on the break. But this year, I couldn’t be more happy when a possession ends with him getting the shot. That means the offense ran well and he’s getting a good look that he’ll likely put down.
He’s going to be crucial come playoff time as well. He’ll likely be tasked with guarding the opposing teams best offensive player, potentially regardless of position. This is especially important in the Western Conference, where guys like Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and LeBron James are waiting for you. I think he’ll be up to the challenge, much like he has been in his entire career so far.
I’m already bummed at the thought of potentially losing him this summer. He’s already played at a level well above his minimum contract and he’ll be looking to cash in on that. Hopefully the Jazz can find the cap space to keep him here and finish what this team has started through this Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell rebuild.
We’ve made it to the top 5. We’re almost there!
Who is the 5th most valuable player on the Utah Jazz roster?
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