5. Raul Neto
If you need a guard to come in a play a defined role to the best of his ability while not taking away minutes or developmental time from those around him, then Raul Neto is your guy. The 31-year-old is an eight-year NBA veteran with experience in both the Eastern and Western conferences. Neto spent last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, playing in 48 games, averaging 3.3 points, 1.6 assists, and 1 rebound per game.
However, Neto’s perimeter shooting has been a problem for the past two seasons, with the veteran guard hitting just 29.2% of his deep shots in 21-22 and 28.6% in 22-23. Yet, as a deep bench guard, who will only see the floor when the offense is stagnant or someone is missing from the rotation, Neto is a steady hand that can be relied upon to bring effort and energy on both sides of the court.
In truth, Ntilikina and Neto share a lot of similar traits, with Ntilikina being a far superior defender. However, Neto would likely be more willing to receive consistent DNP-CDs, whereas Ntilikina would arguably prefer to have a consistent role within Charlotte’s rotation – despite only providing a notable impact on one side of the court.
Regardless of whether you believe Ntilikina was the right choice to fill Dennis Smith Jr’s role, the Hornets have made their decision. Of course, there’s still a chance the Hornets decide not to run with the defensive-minded guard during the season. However, if finding a legitimate impact maker was Charlotte’s aim, it’s clear there were better options available who could have provided help in areas of need – most notably, on the offensive end.