Royce O'Neale should be starting for the Phoenix Suns

The play of Royce O'Neale since the Phoenix Suns traded for him at the deadline is becoming too hard to ignore, and he should now be starting for the team.

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns
Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The NBA playoffs are fastly approaching and the Phoenix Suns are looking to win their first NBA championship. To help achieve that goal the Suns' front office made some moves at the trade deadline, and the biggest was bringing Royce O’Neale to Phoenix from the Brooklyn Nets.

Royce is a true 3-and-D wing who also has great vision. Standing at 6’6” and weighing 226 pounds, O’Neale has the ability to guard multiple positions and slow down opposing wing threats alongside Kevin Durant.

Head Coach Frank Vogel has started Grayson Allen in every game he has played this season, and you could argue that Grayson has already earned that fifth spot in the starting lineup, but O'Neale is the better fit.

Allen is a lights out shooter from behind the arc, leading the NBA all season long in percentage 47.4 percent and he is a good defender but he lacks in size.

Allen is 6’4” and weighs in at just under 200lbs, with many good wings looking to shine in the playoffs the Suns need the tools to defend them. Starting Allen will mean having Kevin Durant basically take the task of guarding two wing stars in one game for example against the Los Angeles Lakers with Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

Or the L.A. Clippers with Kawhi Leopard and Paul George, or even a potential NBA Finals matchup facing the Boston Celtics, who have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. While Durant has been playing at All-NBA defense level all season long, he still needs help, and Allen is not that player.

Another reason one might think to start Allen over O’Neale is because of the 3-point shooting from Grayson, however offense is not the Suns problem. Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, and Durant average a combined 74.6 points per game plus 11.6 points being contributed by Jusuf Nurkic.

With three explosive scorers, plus an inside scoring big with great passing, O’Neale looks like the best option to put in the starting lineup. Averaging 8.7 points per game on 36.7 percent from deep since he arrived in the Valley shows that bringing O’Neale into the starting lineup does not mean you sacrifice offense.

Royce has already had a pair of 20 point games since joining the Suns and has been an overall great pick up. In his 2nd game with the Suns Royce added 9 points along with 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals in a much needed win over the sixth seed Sacramento Kings.

Later that month Royce would really make some noise at home against the Lakers. The Suns started off hot with a 45 point 1st quarter but James nearly led the Lakers to a comeback win with his 28 points and 12 assists, but Royce O’Neal was one of the key reasons for the Suns pulling out the victory.

O’Neale chimed in 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and some very clutch plays to seal the win. Lighting it up in the 4th quarter Royce had 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists along with 2 shots from behind the line, Royce hit 2 of the most important shots that game, he hit a 3 off a pass from KD to extend the lead to 12 with 3 minutes left.

Later in the quarter he would hit another triple, this time assisted by Nurkic, and pretty much put the nail in the coffin as the Suns took a 13 point lead with 1:24 left in the game.

3 Suns who will fall out of the team's playoff rotation. dark. Next. 3 Suns who will fall out of the team's playoff rotation

Showing that he is a capable scorer, versatile defender, all while making the extra plays and doing the grit work, Royce O’Neale is the best option to start come playoff time. Beal and Booker do a majority of the playmaking but Durant and Nurkic have no problem hitting the open man as well.

Durant can score from anywhere on the court, with the ball in his hands or off the ball and is a willing passer. Nurkic pretty much only looks to score in the paint and try to draw fouls, but he is a great passer for his position and makes sure to get his teammates involved.

Royce O’Neale has the ability to spot up from 3, can take it off the dribble from time to time and has a very nice shot fake that has lead to many open looks, plus his willingness as a passer, O’Neale fits perfectly next to the other 4 players mentioned.