Fans might get to see the name “O’Neal” on the back of a Cavaliers jersey once again.
Or perhaps just a practice jersey.
As part of the pre-draft process, the Cavaliers are apparently hosting Shareef O’Neal for a workout.
Shareef is the son of NBA icon and arguably even better TV personality Shaquille O’Neal.
There is a strong legacy of former players’ children playing in the NBA.
There’s Luke Walton and Bill Walton, Gary Payton and Gary Payton II, Doc Rivers and Austin Rivers–the list goes on.
Shareef isn’t even the only son of a former player in this year’s draft.
Projected top-three pick Jabari Smith, Jr.’s father played in the league, as did one Scottie Pippen, Jr.’s father.
Draft prospect Shareef O’Neal has an upcoming workout set with the Lakers, sources tell @TheAthletic. O’Neal worked out for the Bucks today and has scheduled visits to Cleveland, Atlanta and Washington among others. @ShamsCharania reported this week that O’Neal is draft eligible.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) June 10, 2022
The Workout Lineup
The news that O’Neal would work out for the Cavs was actually not the leading story.
That’s because, in addition to the Cavaliers, O’Neal is getting a chance to work out for the Los Angeles Lakers.
And while every Lakers workout matters because, well, it’s the Lakers, the fact that O’Neal’s father is a Laker legend added another layer of intrigue.
As for the Cavs, Shareef O’Neal is one of many different players they’ll get eyes on before the draft.
Cleveland is hosting or has already gotten a look at Malaki Branham, TyTy Washington, Tari Eason, and EJ Liddel.
Unlike his father, Shareef O’Neal is not expected to be an all-world NBA star.
Don’t expect junior to be taken first overall by the Magic, like senior was back in 1992.
In fact, there are questions about whether O’Neal will be drafted at all.
According to some projections, O’Neal’s best shot is trying to gain some traction in Summer League, eventually parlaying that into a G-League spot.
But O’Neal was once a four-star recruit out of college–what happened?
O’Neal’s collegiate career was marred by injury.
Initially, O’Neal committed to Arizona to play college ball but changed his decision to suit up for the UCLA Bruins.
His 2018-19 season featured more time spent in the doctor’s office than the hardwood, unfortunately.
A heart issue kept O’Neal from seeing any action for the Bruins that season.
Eventually, O’Neal transferred to his father’s alma mater LSU.
where a foot injury capped his appearances at 24 over two seasons with the Tigers.
It’s tough for Bruins and Tigers fans not to wonder what could have been if O’Neal was 100%.
UCLA fielded two highly competitive teams over the last two seasons, headlined by Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez, Jr.
Had the 6-10 O’Neal been able to suit up, the Bruins would surely have been even better.
While O’Neal almost surely won’t be taken with the no. 14 pick, the Cavs have two second-rounders that O’Neal might be a better fit for.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have completed pre-draft workouts for EJ Liddell and Malaki Branham.
One could wish…#Cavs
— The Ohio State Hoops Insider (@OSUHoopsInsider) June 9, 2022
In the second round, teams are just looking to fill out the end of the bench and G-League spots.
Sometimes a team hits on major talents, like the Nuggets with Nikola Jokic.
Even if O’Neal is picked up as an undrafted free agent, teams could do worse than take a former four-star high school recruit.
Whether he can stay on the court is a major issue, but hey, that’s what the workouts are for.
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