Utah Jazz: Raul Neto gets to shine while Trey Burke observes from the pine
Neto, picked 47th by Atlanta before being traded to Utah last month, scored seven points with four rebounds and three assists. His comfort level transcended the stats. The 6-1 playmaker showed a surprisingly strong command of the offense and looked poised under pressure in his 18 minutes.
Part of that comes from his natural talent, which was on display when he followed a tricky crossover dribble with a floater off the glass for his best highlight. It also helped, no doubt, that Neto has played two seasons for Lagun Aro GBC in the ACB Spanish league, which is considered to be on a higher talent level than the NCAA.
"Sometimes, I had to do something you don't practice," he said, trying to explain how he fared so well without working out previously with the Jazz. "You see a guy open, you have to pass. That’s basketball."
Both point guards spoke highly of each other following the Jazz's third game in this weeklong tournament on the Amway Center's practice court.
"I knew nothing about him before, but he's a very good player, has a nice shot," Neto said of Burke. "I think he has leadership with the team. He's a very good player."
Likewise, Burke complimented Neto, who hit 3 of 4 field goals.
"He played really well today. He's a really a good guard that can shoot the ball, get into the paint and get his teammates involved," Burke said. "We have confidence in him. We knew what he can do on the court."
They do now, at least.
It remains up in the air whether or not Neto will actually play for Utah this season. He still has a year left on his contract in Spain, and Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said the organization will "let nature take its course" before deciding whether to pursue a buyout ahead of fall camp.
"If I have to choose, I want to play NBA — but it's not my choice," Neto said. "I have to wait. I have to talk with my agent (and see) what's going to be better for me, because I don't want to be here and don't play. I want to play."
Burke feels the same way.
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