By Shane Skeary
February 24, 2014
The Cats acquired guards Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour from the Milwaukee Bucks at the deadline in exchange for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien. Though the Cats will miss Sessions’ effectiveness to get to the rim and the free-throw line, but the need for perimeter shooting called for this move to be made.
Fantasy owners have witnessed Neal and Ridnour in decline from past years as both saw a falling out in Milwaukee as veteran players on a rebuilding team. Neal is averaging 10.1 points per game this season, which is up from the 9.7 he averaged the three years he played in San Antonio. However, both his field goal percentage (.390) and his three point shooing percentage (.360) are down this season from his totals in San Antonio (.433, .397).
Over Ridnour’s 11-year NBA career, he has averaged 9.8 points on 43.2 percent shooting, 4.7 assists in 27.1 minutes. Like Neal, those numbers also took a dive in his second go-around with the Bucks this season. In a reserve role, Ridnour averaged 5.7 points on 38.4 percent shooting, 3.4 assists in 21. 2 minutes.
Although these numbers might not seem encouraging for the Bobcats or fantasy owners, there is hope that the right system can bring the best out of these players. For Neal, being a shooter in Milwaukee is a tough situation to be in without a significant presence in the paint. In Charlotte, Al Jefferson has been drawing plenty of defensive attention with his play recently, even drawing double-teams. With that kind of attention on the inside, Neal will be able to space the floor, shoot from the perimeter and play his game, instead of trying to do too much.
Ridnour can expect to take over the role Ramon Sessions played this season: backup to Kemba Walker and potential two-guard in certain situations. Ridnour is a steady ball handler and will look to increase his shooting and assist numbers with a better core around him in Charlotte. Unlike Neal, Ridnour isn’t a prolific three-point shooter (.351 over his career), but can get the job done if need be.
If Neal and Ridnour are still available in your league, now may be the time to pick them up. With a better situation around them and the playoff-push ahead, these players could be poised for a big turnaround with the Cats.
Past Fantasy Outlooks:
Feb. 17: Jefferson and Walker To Reach Higher Gear
Feb. 3: Jefferson's January to Remember
Dec. 23: Class in Sessions
Dec. 9: Hendo a Hot Add
Nov. 25: McRoberts a Find
Nov. 11: Big Al's Status
Nov. 4: Walker and Jefferson Cats 1-2 Punch