DENVER — Not solely has Royce O’Neale executed all the things the Nets have requested of him since they introduced him in from Utah, but additionally he has executed it higher than they might’ve anticipated and even hoped.

“We already knew he was a fantastic defender. We already knew he did all of the hustle issues, rebounds, and so on,” Spencer Dinwiddie stated. “He’s a much better playmaker than we knew, clearly, as a result of Donovan [Mitchell] had the ball a lot, and clearly, that they had [Bojan Bogdanovic] and [Mike] Conley over there, in order that’s one other credit score to his hat. However the 3-and-D tack, we already knew he might do this. And enjoying towards him, I imply, we knew that.”

O’Neale will enter the sport Sunday towards the West-leading Nuggets a plus-54 in his final 4 appearances, all Nets wins.

He has averaged 9 factors and eight.5 rebounds in that span, following his 11-point, 11-board, two-steal night time in Houston and his 12 factors, 15 rebounds and three steals Friday in a win at Minnesota.

Royce O’Neale has exceeded all Nets expectations since traded from the Utah Jazz.
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The rebounds tied his profession excessive, which is much more spectacular contemplating he was preventing with 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert for a lot of of them.

The 6-4 wing was even requested to entrance and harass the French behemoth in the course of the Nets’ second-half comeback.

“Spectacular, man,” Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn gushed. “It’s actually our hope our younger guys get to see this: Having dudes in a locker room that you could look as much as, to see how they work, to see how he takes care of his physique to provide. It’s simply spectacular.”

“We talked about it earlier than the sport. He’s executed all the things for us. The rebounds, he guarded Rudy within the submit, he spaced the ground for us, he dealt with in pick-and-roll. He did about all the things, and also you’ve obtained to offer him love for all of it.”

Vaughn stated O’Neale has executed all of it regardless of up-and-down enjoying time.

He was a locked-in starter among the many league leaders in minutes earlier than the Kevin Durant–Kyrie Irving trades.

Since then, he has misplaced his beginning spot, enjoying simply 18:48 versus the Hornets final Sunday, however greater than 32 minutes in every of the opposite three most up-to-date video games.

“Whether or not I’m beginning or coming off the bench, irrespective of what number of minutes I’m enjoying, I’m going to play as exhausting as I can, do issues that I obtained to do for us to win the sport, and simply be myself,” O’Neale stated. “I simply preserve the identical mindset irrespective of what number of minutes I’m enjoying. My complete profession simply having the ability to adapt as to if I’m enjoying slightly bit or quite a bit, my focus is simply to get higher.”

The Nets have a clear damage report for Sunday apart from Ben Simmons (left knee and again soreness), who will miss his tenth straight recreation and twenty sixth of the season.

The Lengthy Island Nets have received 16 straight video games to shut in on the G-League document of 18 straight in a single season, set by Idaho 15 years in the past, and Rio Grande’s 19 consecutive spanning two campaigns a decade in the past.

They improved to 22-3 with seven video games left, and can face the Maine Celtics on Sunday in Portland, Maine.