Phoenix Suns 2023-24 player grades: Royce O'Neale

The 2023-24 season featured the Suns' stars, but one role player excelled as soon as he arrived.
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Four
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Four / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Grading players has never been easy but the Phoenix Suns forward Royce O'Neale impressed plenty of supporters with his play this season. The Suns' decision to trade for O'Neale at the past trade deadline improved the team's performance.

His addition gave the Suns another valuable three-and-D player that complimented their Big Three well. Looking at his performance in Phoenix, it's safe to assume that he quickly found a vital role in their season's success.

The forward didn't start his season with the Suns as he was with the Brooklyn Nets. Since the Nets weren't performing as contenders, it was given that one of their veteran players would be traded away. That gave Phoenix the idea to add a valuable perimeter player.

Trading for O'Neale was a need for the Suns, and they didn't hesitate to pull the trigger to acquire the forward.

The Suns' roster featured a ton of heavy offensive contributors. Aside from the stars (Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal), guys like Eric Gordon and Grayson Allen were mostly utilized as offensive options. You can throw their center, Jusuf Nurkic, into the mix as well, since he's known more for his offense than his defense.

It was an interesting pick-up for the Suns as they filled their roster with capable shooters after the trade. O'Neale is a career 38 percent shooter from beyond the arc. Once he arrived in Phoenix, he showed off his shooting prowess as he shot 40 percent from deep in his first ten games. He fit like a glove and didn't pose as a liability to the team's goals of being a playoff team.

During that span, he averaged 10.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists. His defense was also highlighted as he averaged 1.5 steals. The 6-foot-4 forward was impressive on defense, as he isn't known to be a lockdown defender. The former Baylor standout excels as a help defender and can contest shots well. O'Neale also scored 20 points twice during his first ten games, which was the most points he scored with the team this past season.

He isn't afraid to shoot the ball whenever he's open. The forward made six threes out of his ten attempts during their regular season matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers in February. That was the most shots the 30-year-old forward made and attempted from deep with the team.

O'Neale continued to play his role as a spot-up shooter on offense and an excellent defensive asset on defense for the rest of the season. He played 30 games for Phoenix and slightly increased his point production from last season. That increase isn't an easy feat as the Suns had three elite scorers in their Big Three already.

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The Suns forward averaged 8.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists. He knocked down 41.1 percent of his shots from the field and 37.6 percent of his three-pointers. He's proven his value and the front office should consider bringing him back for the 2024-25 season as he's expected to be an unrestricted free agent.

There are rumors that O'Neale could be offered a three-year, $39 million contract this offseason. However, negotiations are yet to be discussed by both parties. His performance with the Suns should convince the organization that he could play an important role in the team's attempt to make their Big Three work.

2023-24 season grade: B