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Tuesday August 28, 2007 5:45 pm

Dropping Dimes Mock Draft 2007 Round 3, Pick 9 - Jermaine O’Neal

Jermaine O'Neal dunking over Yao

Hmm… Dywane Wade in the first… Andre Iguodala in the second… Two Center league… Time for a big-man… Let’s see who is the best big man available… Eyes get wide and pupils shrink… Oh my god Jermaine O’Neal is still available!!! 

Round 3, Pick 9: Jermaine O’Neal, PF/C, Indiana Pacers

Last year, Jermaine O’Neal was drafted with the 2.7 pick. How can a 20-10 big man drop to the third round this year?

First, it could be that Jermaine may have been hanging around the old Marcus Camby injury-friendly water cooler. Jermaine has had trouble staying healthy the past couple of seasons as he missed 13 games last season, but was actually an improvement from the 31 games missed the previous season. JON’s injuries from the past couple of seasons were a sore knee, ankle, hamstring and a torn groin. These types of injuries tend to linger in NBA big men and chunky fantasy writers who should ignore “Low-Fat” ice cream claims. Low-fat ice cream does not mean you can eat more and not get fat, trust me. 

Secondly, Jermaine O’Neal’s FG% was not as efficient from the field as the other O’Neal. Last season Shaq’s FG% was 59.1% compared to Jermaine’s 43.7 FG%. Last season, Jermaine was taking more jump shots and spending less time in the post. This was due to the combination of JON’s injuries and the aggressive opposing defenses in the post against him. In ‘04-’05 season, JON averaged a career high 23.4 points and averaged 9 trips to the line/game. Last season, JON averaged 19.4 points/game and a considerably less 6.5 FTA/game.

Third, while being the focal point of the Pacers’ offense does have it perks, one of the downsides of having the ball in your hands is that you have more opportunities in turning over the ball. In leagues that count turnovers, last season Jermaine’s 2.9 turnovers/game is a punch to the ice cream gut. However it was not as bad as Dwight Howard’s 3.9 turnover/game.

There are, however, reasons for optimism this upcoming season.

First, new head coach Jim O’Brien was brought in by Larry Bird to incorporate more of a “run-and-gun” style offense, which former coach Rick Carlisle resisted. This could be great news for O’Neal. This could mean more open looks in the open court for JON that should lead to more points and a better FG%. The run-and-gun style of play could mean less pounding in the paint, which could lead to less games missed.

Second, Jermaine’s hustle numbers are still top notch. Jermaine led the Pacers in rebounding with 9.6 rebs/game last season. Don’t worry about the jump shot happy Troy Murphy dipping into JON’s rebounding numbers either.  As long as O’Neal remains a Pacer, he will lead the team in rebounding with close to 10 boards/game. Last season, JON studied videos of Hakeem Olajuwon’s defense and it translated to 2.6 blocks per contest, good enough for third best in the league.

Third, Jermaine O’Neal has the option to opt out of his last two years of his 7-year contract, at the end of next season. You can expect JON to play out of his mind a la Vince Carter to ensure a new phat contract with a potential new team if he opts out. Jermaine will be 29 years old after this season and rest assured he would do everything to secure one more lucrative contract. Let’s figure out this simple equation, Monster Year = Monster Contract! There is still a chance for Jermaine to get traded to either the Lakers or Nets who were rumored to been pursuing a trade for him this past summer. Regardless, with the Pacers or any other team, Jermaine O’Neal will have a monster year!

You know the rules about playing wingman for your buddy when you go out; keep the ugly, fat girlfriend occupied while your buddy talks to the hottie. With talented wingmen Dywane Wade and Andre Iguodala by Jermaine O’Neal’s side, it will be easy pickings at the bar!

Other Players on this Fantasy Team:
1.9. Dwyane Wade, PG/SG, Miami Heat
2.4. Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers

Previous Picks This Round:

3.1. Paul Pierce, SG/SF, Boston Celtics
3.2. Marcus Camby, C, Denver Nuggets
3.3. Baron Davis, PG, Golden State Warriors
3.4. Deron Williams, PG, Utah Jazz
3.5. Chauncey Billups, PG, Detroit Pistons
3.6. Gerard Wallace, SG/SF, Charlotte Bobcats
3.7. Vince Carter, SG, New Jersey Nets
3.8. Tracy McGrady, SG/SF, Houston Rockets

Previous Round Selections:
Round One Recap
Round Two Recap

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