The Golden State Warriors signed 17 year veteran Jermaine O’Neal to a one-year, two million dollar contract this off-season. Although the six time all-star has played almost two decades in the league, he will only be 35 during the start of the regular season. After two injury plagued seasons with the Boston Celtics, O’Neal turned back the clock with the Phoenix Suns last season as he played in over 50 games and averaged 8.3 points and 5.3 rebounds. With Festus Ezeli expected to be out for atleast six to nine months, O’Neal will play a pivotal role backing up the oft-injured Andrew Bogut.
If O’Neal can have the same form that he had last year with the Suns, the Warriors will have gotten a bargain in free agency. With Bogut likely to miss a fair share of games throughout the season it is of upmost importance that the Warriors get quality starts from O’Neal.
With Ezeli expected to return before the trade deadline, O’Neal would only be a key player for the Warriors for the first few months of the season. O’Neal’s 35 year old frame should be able to handle 3-5 months as a spot starter. The Warriors will have a plethora of scoring options on the squad so O’Neal would need to focus on defending the paint and securing rebounds. O’Neal will also provide invaluable insight to some of the younger players on the team. Even if O’Neal has lost a step this year, he can’t be worse than the Latvian nightmare Andris Biedrins.