Brooklyn Nets forward Royce O’Neale went through a considerable amount of change during his first season with the Nets last season after being acquired from the Utah Jazz via offseason trade. After being the starter for 52 of Brooklyn’s first 55 games, O’Neale came off the bench for all, but one game for the rest of the season after the roster settled following the trades of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the February trade deadline.
No matter what his role was, O’Neale still did the job that he was expected to do when the Nets traded for him last summer. As usual, he brought three-point shooting and solid perimeter defense while showing an ability to guard some power forwards when the situation called for it.
With training camp just weeks away from now, O’Neale will be looking to regain his starting spot or at the very least, secure his position in the rotation for this upcoming season. Here are three goals for O’Neale to strive for:
Limit Fouls On Defense
O’Neale is one of the more physical defenders in the NBA so it’s understandable that he will be in foul trouble from time to time due to his unique physical profile. However, if O’Neale is going to earn back his starting spot or remain an integral part of the rotation, he has to learn to limit the amount of fouls he gets over the course of a game and when to pick his spots to be physical. He’s that important to the team.
Improve Shooting Inside The Three-Point Line
While O’Neale is one of the better three-point shooters on the roster, he seemed to struggle with efficiency while inside of three-point range. Some of that makes sense given that O’Neale isn’t much of a mid-range shot taker and maker, he will have to improve his shot-making across the board, especially finishing at the rim.
Utilize Ball-Handling Skills More Often
One of the things that surprised a lot of Nets fans last season was how dynamic O’Neale can be in the open court. There were more than a few occasions where he left the Barclays Center crowd amazed when he was able to spin around his defender and either finish at the rim or find a teammate for an open shot. O’Neale handling the ball within the offense, transition or half-court, could be one of the ways that Brooklyn opens up the scoring ability of this team.