The Milwaukee Bucks saw their season end without them reaching their goal of repeating as NBA Champions. Unfortunately, they were defeated by the Boston Celtics in seven games. Khris Middleton missed time with a sprained knee and the bench (aside from Bobby Portis) disappeared. Now that their offseason has started, the Bucks need to look into improving their bench. With Portis starting most of the season due to Brook Lopez’s back injury, the bench unit ranked 27th in bench scoring. In other words, they need better role players and shooters. One name that has been mentioned as a possible trade target is Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale.
Who Is Royce O’Neale?
Royce O’Neale is a five-year NBA veteran who went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft. Despite not getting picked by a single NBA team, he continued to play professionally in Europe. In 2017, he signed on with the Jazz’s summer league team and impressed enough to make their roster. That season, 2017-18, he appeared in 69 games, averaging 5.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
The next season, 2018-19, O’Neale appeared in all 82 games (16 starts) and averaged 5.2 points per game. Over the next three seasons, O’Neale became one of the starters for the Jazz. In that time, he shot 45/38/80 from the floor while averaging 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Last season was the best of his career, as he averaged 7.4 points per game while shooting 39% from three, both career highs.
How Would Royce O’Neale Fit on the Bucks?
As mentioned, the Bucks need shooters and scorers off their bench. Khris Middleton is the team’s starting small forward, so O’Neale would not be a starter in Milwaukee. He would be an excellent bench player, though, who can knock down threes. Additionally, O’Neale is a tough defender who has drawn comparisons to P.J. Tucker. We all know how well the Bucks did with Tucker.
In order to trade for O’Neale, though, the Bucks would have to get creative. The only player on their roster who matches salaries with O’Neale is Grayson Allen. While Allen was one of the more disappointing players in the Boston series, it is not likely the Bucks would trade a player they just gave an extension to.
Or would they?
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