Days ago, as the NBA’s free agency period opened up, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Raul Neto, a 6-foot-1, 30-year-old point guard who was born in Brazil.
Free agent guard Raul Neto is signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 1, 2022
Afterward, Cleveland went ahead and brought back veteran point guard Ricky Rubio, as many expected it to do this summer.
Rubio is expected to be the first backup point guard behind rising star Darius Garland, and he is a solid choice, given his passing ability and experience.
At first glance, the signing of Neto may be inconsequential, especially when one looks at his career averages of 6.0 points and 2.2 assists in 16.2 minutes per game.
But there is a real possibility that Neto could end up playing an important role for the Cavs at some point this upcoming season.
Neto Is Not Exactly A Bad Player
No one is trying to argue that Neto is good enough to start on a good team, as he has started just 98 of his 387 career games.
But he isn’t a bad choice as a third-string point guard.
For his career, he has averaged a decent 4.8 assists per 36 minutes against 2.2 turnovers per 36 minutes, giving him a good assist-to-turnover ratio.
But another area where he can help the team is outside shooting.
Neto has made 36.6 percent of his 3-point attempts during his seven NBA seasons, and although he shot just 29.2 percent from downtown this past season for the Washington Wizards, one figures that figure should increase due to the presence of Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.
Just a little bit of what Raul Neto brings to the table. He averaged a career high 3.1 Assists last season in only 19.6 MPG. He should be able to hold things down until Rubio is healthy. Good addition. pic.twitter.com/wzxoDHw3xt
— Mack Perry (@DevaronPerry) July 1, 2022
Cleveland needs more accurate 3-point shooters, and if Neto regains his previous form, he can help a bit in that department.
But perhaps his most important asset to the Cavs will come in another area.
Neto Is Good Insurance
Although Rubio was likely the right man for the Cavs to bring in as Garland’s main backup, he will turn 32 in October and is coming off a torn ACL in his left knee.
More likely than not, he will not be ready to return when the 2022-23 season starts, and with the amount of mileage he has, he may not be the same player following such an injury.
As it was, Rubio has always been an inefficient offensive player, and it could hurt the team when he is on the floor.
If Rubio simply cannot get the job done, or if he gets hurt again, Neto could help fill in for him.
If Collin Sexton gets re-signed by Cleveland to a new contract, he and Neto could give the team plenty of backcourt depth and help for Garland should something negative happen with Rubio.
This past season, it brought in Rajon Rondo, an accomplished and veteran point guard, to replace Rubio after he was traded following his injury, but after Rondo was allegedly involved in a domestic violence incident, it’s hard to imagine Cleveland keeping him around.
Interestingly, Neto and Rubio played together on the Utah Jazz a few years ago, and as fellow foreign-born players, the chemistry between them could be quite good both on and off the court.
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