Utah Jazz: Royce O’Neale’s three-point dip post-extension

Making three-pointers is one of the two most important things Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale has to do for the team. After signing a contract extension in late January, his accuracy from three has dipped.

Royce O’Neale shot over 40-percent from three-point land in every month leading to January. Even in the games of January prior to signing an extension with the Utah Jazz, O’Neale was shooting it at a 41-percent clip.

Once O’Neale signed his name on the dotted line of the four-year, $32 million dollar contract extension, everything changed. Since then, O’Neale has shot just 31.4-percent from long range. Not surprisingly, the Jazz are 8-9 since the extension was signed. O’Neale is a crucial part of the Jazz’s success.

Normally when I see this — a player’s production decline after getting paid — it concerns me. Robert Covington of the Houston Rockets is a perfect example. When he played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Covington was on a bargain contract for a long time.

He finally got his deserved money, but after the extension he signed in November of 2017, his shooting, which the 76ers needed badly, declined.

It can be a testament to a player’s motivation. A player could just say, ‘I got paid. I got my money. Let me chill.’ That wasn’t the case for Covington, though. And I don’t think it’s the case for Royce. It’s just something that happens sometimes and is unexplainable.

Obviously, with the 2019-20 NBA season currently suspended, we won’t be able to see if Royce can break out of his three-point funk anytime soon. It’ll be interesting to see if the break from playing benefits players or throws them off.

Next: End of season awards, Utah Jazz edition

Overall on the season, O’Neale is averaging 6.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 38.9-percent from deep. The stats don’t wow you, but he’s made a huge impact on this Utah Jazz team.

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