This article was originally published on Let’s Go Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors have agreed to a one-year contract worth around the league minimum of $2 million with 17-year NBA veteran and six-time All-Star Jermaine O’Neal.
O’Neal has experienced a lot of trouble with injuries in the past few years, but, last year with the Phoenix Suns, he was in great shape and was rarely injured. Last season, O’Neal had a resurgent year with the Suns when he averaged 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in just 18.7 minutes per game in 55 games. He claims his improved health comes from a knee treatment he received in Germany before last season and again recently. O’Neal missed most of those 27 games last season because his daughter had to have surgery to repair a leaky heart valve.
The Warriors needed to add another center that could back up Andrew Bogut while Festus Ezeli recovers from his knee surgery. O’Neal will probably only play about 18 minutes per game when Ezeli returns, but he can still provide some extra defensive help to the Warriors. Here are three things that O’Neal brings to the Warriors:
O’Neal is 6’11” and 255 pounds. With the departure of Andris Biedrins and Ezeli’s injury, the Warriors will certainly benefit from O’Neal’s size, ability to block and alter shots, and his presence in the paint.
On offense, O’Neal can use his size and length to post up and score in many different ways in the paint. Also, given Bogut’s history with injuries, O’Neal’s size will come in handy if he needs to start in place of Bogut.
O’Neal was arguably one of the Suns’ best interior defenders last season. He’s clearly an excellent shot blocker, as he’s averaged 1.8 blocks per game over his career. He’s also a good rebounder, as he’s averaged 7.3 rebounds in 27.4 minutes per game over his career.
He also does the little things well on defense too. He positions himself well, he contests shots aggressively, and he doesn’t foul too much.
3. Veteran Leadership
O’Neal has played in 90 postseason games in his career and has averaged 12 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in 27.7 minutes per game. He has played for six different NBA teams before the Warriors including the Portland Trailblazers, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, and the Phoenix Suns.
After playing in the league for 17 seasons, O’Neal will definitely be a valuable veteran off the bench, and he can share his vast playoff experience with this young Warriors team. For example, he could provide some mentoring to Ezeli. His veteran perspective and leadership will be a great asset for this Warriors team.