Utah Jazz: one goal for every player in the starting lineup

Utah Jazz (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Royce O’Neale of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale

2021-22 Goal: develop shot creation 

Royce O’Neale is the consummate role player. Every contending NBA team covets a 3-and-D wing with a willingness to cover the opposing team’s best offensive player without demanding a substantive slice of the offensive pie. The Utah Jazz have exactly that in Royce O’Neale.

Nonetheless, even an incremental increase in the number of shots O’Neale creates for himself on a nightly basis could stand to bail the Jazz out of otherwise dicey offensive situations. Last season, 60.3% of O’Neale’s two-point attempts were assisted on, to go with a whopping 98.1% of his three-pointers. Those numbers were actually down from the 2019-20 season, when 84.8% of his twos came off of assists, and (seemingly impossibly) 100% of his threes were assisted.

Again, that’s perfectly fine. O’Neale knows his role on the Utah Jazz, and he plays it to perfection. In fact, if O’Neale somehow instantaneously evolved into an elite bucket-getter, the Jazz’s currently clear offensive pecking order may risk considerable cluttering.

That’s a hypothetical scenario that doesn’t feel worth worrying about. Nobody’s expecting O’Neale to emerge as anything resembling Paul George next season (and likely, Utah Jazz fans wouldn’t complain if he did). Still, the addition of a few unassisted baskets to O’Neale’s repertoire  would diversify the Jazz’s attack.

He should make it a goal to require an assist on even 5% less of his three-point attempts next season.