Jermaine O’Neal is one of the few veterans on the Phoenix Suns. The old guy. The oldest guy, in fact. He’s been there, done that.
So when the Suns lost to Houston on a rookie-like mistake (goaltending) that won the game for the Rockets, the veteran big man would be the last suspect for such an occurrence, right?
It’s the latest of low-blows for the ailing Suns, whose losing streak hit double-digits. It also ruined Houston comebacks for former Rockets Goran Dragic, Marcus Morris and Luis Scola, all of whom scored in double figures.
Scola in particular was a harsh reminder to the team that amnestied him last summer, going off for 28 points and eight rebounds, while Dragic turned in what is becoming an increasingly routine double-double with 15 points and 10 assists.
O’Neal’s last-second gaffe, however, capped off a miserable night for the once over-achieving big man. The former All-Star shot just 2-for-12 from the field…unless exultant fans want to count the last basket he “made” for the other team.
Phoenix found a semblance of a shooting stroke from the outside, going 7-for-12 from deep. Markieff Morris was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.
The Suns’ overall efficiency was likely thanks to no one getting too trigger-happy. Jared Dudley’s four attempts were a team-high, and he made two of them.
As for the recently green-lit Wes Johnson? He had just one attempt (he missed), though that can be attributed to his meager 13 minutes of action despite starting the game.
Which leads us to…
If the Suns are indeed trying to identify out who their “keepers,” are their any shoe-ins beside Dragic? Johnson has been hot and cold. The Morris twins are sometimes solid, other times transparent. Ditto for Scola, though his “solid” is a few levels higher. Jared Dudley no longer plays with the I’m-going-to-prove-I-belong-in-this-league edge.
Heading into an offseason with cap space and potentially three first-round picks, is anyone on the Suns’ roster safe?