Jermaine O’Neal Presents Potential Trouble for Golden State Warriors Early in Season

By Cody Williams
Jermaine O'Neal Warriors Bogut
Jerome Miron – USA Today Sports Images

The Golden State Warriors figure to be one of the teams that will be in the mix for one of the top-four seeds in the NBA’s Western Conference. After a successful run with their young core last season and the addition of Andre Iguodala this summer, this team has high expectations that the public has placed on them for this year.

Obviously Iguodala and Stephen Curry are two enormous reasons for that, but another reason is the fact that starting center Andrew Bogut is fully healthy heading into the preseason and should still be 100 percent at the start of the regular season, something that wasn’t true at the start of last year. However, it’s the health of their backup centers that could be problematic this seaso.

In June it was announced that Festus Ezeli would be out six-to-nine months because of injury, leaving them without an option at the backup center position until December at the earliest. The Warriors went to try and help out their roster, though, as they agreed to a deal with veteran center Jermaine O’Neal.

Last season with the Phoenix Suns, O’Neal looked rejuvenated in the 55 games that he was on the floor. He averaged 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and a solid 83.5 percent from the foul line.

However, as we have all heard over the years, the Suns training staff is the best in the NBA that has a history of keeping aging veterans on the floor and maximizing their potential. As he heads to Golden State, O’Neal obviously won’t have Phoenix’s training staff with him anymore. Given his age and recent history of injury, that could work out poorly for him and the Warriors.

If O’Neal were to go down with an injury, that would leave only the injury-prone Bogut at the center position until Ezeli returns to action. That’s a bad place for the Warriors to be in. Because of all of that, don’t be surprised if Golden State brings in another center for training camp and possibly part of the regular season.

Cody Williams is a Senior Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20, add him on Google and like his Facebook page.

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