Phoenix Suns Should Plan On Keeping Jermaine O'Neal

By John Raffel
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jermaine O’Neal probably won’t be on the 2013-14 roster for the Phoenix Suns, who would hopefully be getting some younger talent to be taking over in the middle.

But O’Neal has proven, based on his 2012-13 performance, that he has plenty of talent left in the tank to be a valuable contributor in the NBA. The question is whether or not the Phoenix Suns feel like keeping O’Neal, who will turn 35 in October, would be of benefit to them. At 6-foot-11, he can still be a competitive force inside for the Suns and can give them good minutes.

Last season, O’Neal averaged 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 18.7 minutes per game. His numbers are down from his career figures, although he had one of his best seasons in 2012-13 in awhile. It would appear that he’ll be productive for another year or two.

In the final three contests of the season, the third to the last one was a game of beauty and brought back memories of the Jermaine O’Neal of old. He was 7-of-12 from the floor and scored 15 points in 33 minutes of action while also having nine rebounds. But in his last two games of the season, he averaged 25 minutes of action and shot a combined 4-of-24 from the floor.

If O’Neal doesn’t return to the Phoenix roster, the Suns will have huge shoes to fill. They should plan on keeping him. He may not be able to be a full-time starter anymore, but for the most part, he’s going to help the Suns get back to a winning record.

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