The San Antonio Spurs seem to always be a team that has an impressive stockpile of role players, more so than really any other NBA team that comes to mind. With the team running the highly effective offensive system of Gregg Popovich, it seems that the Spurs always turn unknown players into key contributors.
One of those players for them the past few seasons has been backup point guard Gary Neal. Over his three seasons in the league, all with San Antonio, Neal has played in 204 games and has averaged 9.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in 21.4 minutes per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from beyond-the-arc.
With Neal entering restricted free agency this summer and with the Spurs signing Marco Belinelli, it seemed possible that Neal might now be back with San Antonio next season. However, according to ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling, the Spurs are on the verge of agreeing to re-sign Neal.
Neal is most known for his shooting ability and his fearlessness when it comes to the offensive aspect of his game. Neal has never seen a shot that he didn’t think he could make. Sometimes that’s a blessing and sometimes that’s a curse.
The positive thing about Neal’s type of play playing under Popovich is the fact that Pop won’t let Neal get out of control. Pop will stay level-headed with one bad shot from Neal, but if it starts getting out-of-hand, Popovich won’t hesitate to yank Neal. Because of Popovich’s style of coaching, it maximizes Neal’s potential as a player.
When Neal is hot, it’s pretty remarkable to watch. He looks like he’s in a video game set on the lowest level of difficulty. When he’s off, it looks like a toddler mashing buttons on that video game. However, with the Spurs, he’s probably the best version of himself as an NBA player. Bringing him back is a good move for both parties.