LAS VEGAS -- Three months after being waived by the Celtics following season-ending wrist surgery, Jermaine ONeal was working toward the next phase in his basketball career at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
After contemplating retirement at points, the big man is eyeing his 17th NBA season. But before ONea, 33, moves forward, he looked back on his two seasons in Boston, years that he believes could have gone better for him.
Well since I was asked not to score too much last year, I still feel like I have a lot left, he told HOOPSWORLD.
While on the Celtics, O'Neal appeared in a total of 49 games as he struggled with various injuries. A scorer for the majority of his career, he was asked to focus on defense, the foundation of the Celtics system. He averaged 5.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season.
ONeal spoke to HOOPSWORLD about his time with the Celtics:
Well you have to go somewhere where you really fit, ONeal said. Thats just how it is. I had a fantastic time in Boston, an unbelievable sports town, fans and organization. But it wasnt necessarily the best fit basketball wise. Your comfort level is everything. Sometimes when youreasked not to worry about some of the stronger parts of your game, which is scoring, and only focus on defense, thats difficult to do.Im not stupid, I dont think I can go for 20 every night anymore, but I do believe I can go for 20 on any given night. Its just about finding a position whether its coming off the bench or starting, whether its 15 minutes or 30 minutes, whatever the coaches ask you to do its just about having the opportunity to be yourself. I just want to get to the level that I know Im physically right.Once that happens, basketball doesnt change, ONeal added. They say its like tying yourshoes. You keep the same routine. The basic techniques stay the same. You dont jump as high or run as fast anymore, but the basic technique stays the same. This process has been a very tedious process. I came in this summer with a blank canvas not worrying about anything Ive done before. Its about getting back to the bare techniques of running, jumping and training. Im back to doing squats, lunges, resistance and speed work. Its probably one of those things you have to see to believe. I do them every day, five or six hour days.
Amid talks the Lakers were interested in ONeal, the team's general manager Mitch
Kupchak and head coach Mike Brown were in attendance to watch his workout.