Jermaine O’Neal (Center)
MIN: 18.7|FG%: 48.2|3P%: 0|FT%: 83.5|REB: 5.3|AST: 0.8|BLK: 1.4|STL: 0.3|PTS: 8.3
Jermaine O’Neal was a pleasant surprise this season. The 16-year veteran came to the valley of the Suns this year having played in just 49 games over the previous two seasons. No one expect O’Neal to make much of a contribution but by the end of the 2012-2013 season, he was one of the biggest contributors on the Suns.
During the 2012-2013 season, O’Neal posted a PER(player efficiency rating) of 16.76, a mark he reached just one other time in the last six seasons; it was also the second highest mark on the Suns behind Goran Dragic(17.52). O’Neal’s 48% field-goal percentage this past season was also the fifth highest mark in his 16-year career; maybe it’s the water in Phoenix.
O’Neal was a constant force on the court and in the locker room as he, Luis Scola and Jared Dudley provided the majority of the experience and leadership. Unfortunately for Suns fans, O’Neal most likely will be somewhere else next season if he decides to keep playing.
Coming to the Suns was supposed to revitalize Jermaine O’Neal’s career. The 34-year-old center had knee issues for the last couple years and playing in Arizona with the Suns miracle-working training staff (see Steve Nash, Grant Hill, and to a lesser extent Shaq), and his production was going to get him on a contender for the playoffs and maybe a championship before the sun set on his career. The valley of the sun was not that place. When I did an article a while ago looking at the Suns with advanced statistics, O’Neal had the best Player Efficiency Rating, and he was coming off the bench.
O’Neal was solid this season, and he rode with the Suns and it was a great experience (for fans at least), hopefully, he find his way to a contender for next year and get a ring, because Phoenix is mired deep, deep in the rebuilding process and won’t be out of it until after O’Neal probably retires.