There hasn’t been much to be excited about when it comes to the 2012-13 NBA season for the Phoenix Suns. They have the worst record in the Western Conference at 18-39 and have no player that could really be considered an All-Star. However, if they are looking for silver linings, they have gotten solid production out of their backup center, Jermaine O’Neal.
The 34-year-old O’Neal is in his 17th year in the league and really wasn’t expected to produce that much given his injury history in his past two seasons with the Boston Celtics. However, he’s definitely been a serviceable center coming off the bench.
O’Neal is averaging 7.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and despite only playing 16.8 minutes per game. Per 36 minutes, O’Neal is averaging a double-double. Considering what the probable expectations were for O’Neal this season, that’s remarkable production from him.
The problem really is that O’Neal is an older player that isn’t able to play many more minutes per night than he is right now. Moreover, it’s unlikely that he will be in the league much longer after this year. But really, the situation with O’Neal is somewhat of a microcosm of Phoenix.
The Suns roster is oddly put together and seems to have no sense of purpose, a strange thing to say for a team that’s in the process of rebuilding. They seem to have assembled a team in Phoenix with no foresight at all. Instead of rebuilding for their future, they just threw together a bunch of players and hoped it worked out. O’Neal is one of those players and one of the few that has performed well, for whatever that’s worth.