Underrated Utah Jazz player: Royce O’Neale
Full-time starter Royce O’Neale is a player whose contributions to the Utah Jazz often go overlooked by those who are outside of the fanbase. He’s a gritty defender who is usually tasked with guarding opponents’ best players.
Despite having signed a four-year contract, O’Neale, who was undrafted coming out of Baylor in 2015, still plays like he’s trying to earn his spot on the team.
In his four seasons with the franchise, he has embodied the team-first mentality that the Jazz play with. While O’Neale is a capable scorer, shooting 37.9 percent from three this season, he doesn’t rely on his shot to impact the game. Despite playing alongside All-Star center Rudy Gobert, he contributes heavily on the boards, averaging seven rebounds per game this season.
At 6-foot-4, O’Neale is considerably undersized as a forward in today’s NBA. However, his lack of size hasn’t stopped him from guarding some of the league’s top players. Whether they be quick guards such as Ja Morant and Bradley Beal or star forwards such as Jimmy Butler and Brandon Ingram, O’Neale has been up for the challenge.