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Royce O'Neale (SF, UTA) - Week 23 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add In 14-Team Leagues

OWNED IN: 3% of leagues

ANALYSIS: The Utah Jazz have impressively muscled their way safely into the Western Conference playoff picture, and with current injuries to reserve players like Tony Bradley, Dante Exum, and Thabo Sefolosha, coach Quin Snyder has continually looked to Royce O'Neale for high-importance minutes off the bench in support of the other small forwards on the roster like Jae Crowder and Joe Ingles. The 6-6 former Baylor Bear has made slight improvements across the board since joining the Jazz last season after going undrafted in 2015; putting up 5.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, and a dialed-in three-point conversion rate of 40.3% on 2.0 attempts through 19.7 minutes per game (not to mention his 12 appearances in Utah's starting-lineup in 68 games as compared to four through 69 games last year). O'Neale has been particularly practical in his deployment for the Jazz in the last five games since their March 8th match-up with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Over that span of time he has averaged 7.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.0 steals in anywhere from 21 to 40 minutes per contest. He has also remained rather consistent from beyond the arc, going nine for 17 from deep for a 36.8% success rate. While none of those figures in particular jump off of the page, O'Neale has displayed the ability to excel in different statistical categories on any given evening. Over this same five-game span he has had statistical-category high figures of 17 points and eight rebounds against the Thunder, two steals against Memphis, and five assists this past Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets. Don't harbor unrealistic expectations: Royce O'Neale is a clear third-string small forward for Utah behind established veterans Crowder and Ingles. However, with his ability to knock down deep shots, play perimeter defense, and grab a handful of rebounds or assists on any night with which he is deployed with relative frequency, he is an asset of sneaky value in deeper leagues for a team fighting for optimal postseason-seeding through the regular season homestretch.

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