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.
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.