Is it just me or does O’Neale need one less “E” or one more “L”? Otherwise, I’m just going to read it like he’s the Irish Nelly. Sans the light racism question mark (you’d have to ask Nelly, and I guess Ireland), we’re continuing the trend of discussing players to plug and play because apparently the year we’re having is just a continuation of 2020… and if there’s anything we’ve learned from 2020, it’s that we probably all just died and the past year or so has just been our synapses firing randomly the entire time. I mean, why not? But if you ain’t here for the existential crisis, you’re probably here to read about Royce O’Neale. Or you googled “Irish Nelly”. Either way, I’m sure you’ll find what you were looking for…
Now granted, I’m not going to sit here (and stand every once-and-a-while to forage) and present O’Neale as some sort of roster savior. I realize that the Rolls Royce slogan is “Trusted to Deliver Excellence” but isn’t it close enough if the actual Royce just kinda was trusted to deliver average and unspectacular but consistent results? Hey, I might have ruined the title-tie-in, but at least you are getting the unfettered truth. They call me: hero. But desultory thoughts aside, the TL;DR of his skillset is enticing if you keep your do expectations in check and not allude in any way that he can be compared to a car synonymous with Jay-Z and Grey Poupon.
Only rostered around 20% generally among the varying fantasy basketball platforms, the Jazz small forward brings some three-point range, rebounds, and a little bit of everything else. Nothing is gaudy here, and truth be told I think highlighting O’Neale here is probably 160th on a list of 159 things I’d thought I’d be doing this NBA season, but here we are…
Typically, and as I alluded to briefly above, O’Neale is your oft-found “three-and-D role player” who usually just does what big-men in NBA2k do, and that’s just sit in a corner while watching someone Curry-step for three days while hoping for a pass. And let’s be clear, O’Neale isn’t really a ball-handler either, so while I just got done with a paragraph noting his robust contributions, now is when I’m telling you don’t expect much. Writing is a gift, is it not? Look, I’ll admit, playing close to 30 minutes? That is fantastic. I want that. Staying around 5 shot attempts a game? This is not so fantastic, and I don’t really want that. The volume will be an on-going issue, no doubt. Being on a team with Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, and Bojan Bogdanovic will do that. But also keep in mind that with lower usage comes with it the added bonus of not dragging down a fantasy team too much if an off-night occurs, an aspect that augments his beneficial counting stats that much more.
But keep in mind that this season, while he’s doing everything that he’s done before, the aspect I’m focusing on is that this season, he’s doing everything he usually does just a little bit better. And I am aware that just in the past week he followed up scoring 18 points against the Bucks by putting up a nothing-burger of 0 points against the Pistons. There will be nights like this, no doubt, though I would point out that he did nab 8 rebounds and four assists, and a steal in that game. So with his roller-coaster tendencies aside, you could see an average slash of 8.0 PTS, 8.0 REB, 4.0 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.5 BLK, and 1.0 TO. Again, it doesn’t blow your mind away, but when you really think about those numbers, you’re not too far away from a top-150, maybe even top-100 ranking.