Jermaine O’Neal is still trying to play basketball. And despite what we saw in Boston over the past couple of years, he swears he can still be productive.
Ok. Fine. I’m not going to get on any player who still wants to play the game for a living. It’s a beautiful game… the locker room is a lot of fun because you get to act like a kid… the relationships you build with some teammates last a lifetime. I get it. The allure of it all is intoxicating. It’s a hard drug to kick.
So bon voyage, Jermaine. I’ll be happy to forget your two forgettable years if you are.
“Well you have to go somewhere where you really fit,” O’Neal said. “That’s just how it is. I had a fantastic time in Boston, an unbelievable sports town, fans and organization. But it wasn’t necessarily the best fit basketball wise. Your comfort level is everything. Sometimes when you’re asked not to worry about some of the stronger parts of your game, which is scoring, and only [focus on] defense, that’s difficult to do.
“I’m not stupid, I don’t think I can go for 20 every night anymore, but I do believe I can go for 20 on any given night. It’s just about finding a position whether it’s coming off the bench or starting, whether its 15 minutes or 30 minutes, whatever the coaches ask you to do it’s just about having the opportunity to be yourself. I just want to get to the level that I know I’m physically right.
Not the right fit…
Not the right fit…
I knew what [the Heat] were trying to do, and I could have re-signed back with those guys,” he said Wednesday after passing his physical with the Celtics. “But it comes down to fit. It comes down to personalities and style of play, and I thought Boston has all that for me. It came down to winning now, and not worrying about chemistry.”
Same old excuses. What did he think… we’d forget that he said that?
So it was a good fit then, but it’s not a good fit now, huh, Jermaine?
I’m pretty sure Doc didn’t lie to him and say “oh yeah, we’re looking for 10 shots a game out of you and double-digit scoring.” Jermaine knew the situation. He was never going to be asked to score much for Boston. The Celtics were a defensive juggernaut who were happy to win games 90-85 and let Pierce, Allen and Garnett do most of scoring work. O’Neal was always going to be a 5th option on this team.
A defensive-minded, rebounding center has always been what the Celtics wanted in this system, and it’s what they continue to look for. So enough of the ridiculous excuses, Jermaine.
Here’s the thing… and you’ll have to go back to the original HoopsWorld link to see the video: Jermaine wasn’t even asked about Boston. He could have let it go. He wasn’t asked about the fit. He wasn’t asked if he got the ball enough. None of that. So the “I was taken out of context” thing goes out the window because he wasn’t responding to a specific question. Jermaine O’Neal, in talking about his future, offered up that Boston wasn’t the right fit for him. He pulled that nugget out to say without saying “it’s not my fault.”
He could have simply said “I’m looking forward to my next opportunity, wherever that is. I feel healthy, and I feel like I can contribute to a championship.” Instead, he made a contradictory excuse. What exactly, does “whatever the coaches ask you to do it’s just about having the opportunity to be yourself” mean, anyway?
“I’ll do whatever you ask of me, as long as whatever you ask of me is something I’m comfortable doing.”
That’s just total B. S. And if I can see it, I’m sure teams can see it. And maybe he’ll go somewhere for the minimum, but I’d caution them all to really think hard about it. Because if you ask him to score, he’ll leave you later saying it wasn’t a good fit because he’s not a scorer anymore and he can’t handle that kind of load. He’ll have an excuse ready to go for anything. And to be honest, right now, it’s the most reliable part of his game.