Throughout the regular season, guard Gary Neal provided the San Antonio Spurs with scoring punch off the bench from the perimeter. But so far in their second round series against the Golden State Warriors Neal has been held in check. If he doesn’t start to produce soon, the Spurs may find themselves eliminated in the second round.
Neal averaged 9.5 points per game this season while shooting .412 from the field and .355 from three-point range, right in line with the 9.9 points, .445 from the field and .419 from three that he averaged in his first two years in the NBA with the Spurs.
But so far in the playoffs, Neal’s production has taken a dip, down to just seven points on .320 from the field, including a terrible .292 from deep. Neal has even seen his minutes decrease due to his poor shooting, as he has played a total of 28 minutes and scored only four points on 1-4 shooting in games three and four.
While Neal can indeed score he isn’t a great play maker or defensive guard, so if he isn’t scoring or knocking down open threes then his value for the Spurs in minimal. San Antonio can use all of the outside shooting help they can get to counter Golden State’s perimeter firepower over the final three games of the series.
Neal has the shooting range and scoring instincts to continue to be deadly off the bench, but a poor showing in the postseason will only decrease his market value to some extent. This season is the last of Neal’s contract with the Spurs and he will need to pick up his production over the remaining games in the series to prove his value, either to San Antonio or to potential suitors in free agency.