Neto Stands Out in His NBA Debut

By Matt Payne, utahjazz.com

The Utah Jazz may have opened their season with a loss in Detroit last night, but there were still several bright spots. 

And one of the biggest was the play of Raul Neto. 

A 6-foot-1 point guard from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Neto is in his first season in the NBA after spending four years playing in Spain. The 23-year-old has been praised for his floor vision, passing and pesky defense, though he also brought with him a reputation of being a subpar shooter.

It was ironic, then, that in his first regular season NBA game, Neto went 2-for-2 from 3-point range—while the rest of his team went 0-for-9.

After starting in only two of Utah’s seven preseason games, Neto found himself in the starting lineup in the season opener. He isn't being asked to do too much. Basically he's filling Danté Exum's role from last year—make some shots, don't turn the ball over, play tough defense.

Through one game, Neto checked all three of those boxes.

In 26 minutes last night, he …

  • Had three assists (second most on the team after Rodney Hood’s six), including a nice alley-oop to Rudy Gobert for a layup
  • Only committed one turnover
  • Scored eight points on 3-for-6 shooting

He also had a net rating of +12, which was the best on the team and the third best of any player in the game (Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Marcus Morris were +14 and +13, respectively).

"I mean, you saw him. That's what he's been doing,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said after the game. “He made a couple of shots, and defensively he's just solid. He get's us into some stuff [on offense]."

Neto also had an injury scare just before halftime when he fell awkwardly and bent backward on his left knee. He limped off the floor and walked to the locker room on his own power, though, and was back out there to start the second half—sporting a protective sleeve and a slight limp.

"We don't have a ton of depth at that position,” Snyder said. “I'm glad he's ok.”