Friday, July 10, 2015

Wizards Sign Gary Neal

Baltimore native Gary Neal returns home

From our friends at the Washington Wizards...

Wizards Add Backcourt Depth with Gary Neal

The Wizards came into the offseason with the idea that they needed to add more shooting, more depth, and more experience to their bench. Well, they did all three with the signing of veteran guard Gary Neal, who will bring versatility to the Wizards' bench in 2015-16.

Neal will turn 31 when the season begins this October and has now played in five NBA seasons with four different teams. Undrafted out of Towson, the Baltimore native played his first three seasons overseas before joining the San Antonio Spurs for the 2010-11 season. He averaged 9.8 points per game in his rookie season while shooting 42% from 3-point range, which was good enough to earn him NBA All-Rookie First Team honors. He averaged about 10 points per game off the Spurs' bench during his first three years in the league and was a big piece in the rotation during their run to the NBA Finals in 2013. He gained a lot of publicity after he went 6 for 10 from 3-point range in Game 3 of the 2013 Finals, scoring a playoff career-high 24 points in that blowout win over the Heat.

After the 2012-13 season, Neal signed on with Milwaukee Bucks before being dealt mid-season to the then Charlotte Bobcats. He shot 40% from 3-point range after landing with the Bobcats during the 2013-14 season and averaged 11.3 points per game during their brief run in the 2014 postseason.

This past year, Neal began the season with the newly named Hornets, but struggled to find his shooting rhythm, as he shot a career-low 29% from 3-point range before being dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 11 games with Minnesota, he averaged 11.5 points per game off the bench while shooting 36% from 3-point range.

Neal is a career 38% shooter from 3-point range and has averaged 9.9 points in 22 minutes per game over his NBA career. He's become a journeyman guard, who brings a real tough attitude and has developed the reputation of a true professional.

He should fit in well with this current Wizards roster as he'll be able to play with both the first and second unit. He'll give the team another veteran shooter, something they lacked at certain times last season, who will play mostly off the ball on the wings. He's not a guy that will often get in the paint for his buckets, as just 23% of all of his field goal attempts last season came from less than 10 feet, but will rely more on his jump shot as 61% of his attempts came from beyond 16 feet.

This isn't a signing that will make huge headlines across the NBA as Neal is not more than a rotation player, but these are the type of guys that help teams win games in the postseason. He, along with the team's other free-agent acquisitions, compliment an already deep roster and could very well be the missing links to push this team to that next level.