Utah Jazz Sign Raul Neto
On signing his first NBA contract
It’s a dream coming true. I’ve been dreaming about it since I start to play basketball, so I’m very happy.
How optimistic were you this was going to happen?
I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I came here thinking about this contract. So now I get it, so that’s — I was here for it.
How did this process get rolling?
[The Jazz] are talk with my agent since I get drafted, so I don’t know exactly what they talking about, since three ye–two years ago when I get drafted. So, I just know the conversation now, that they say they want me this–the next season here. So, that’s what I know.
Why was right now the right time?
I’m not sure, but I think it’s kind of part of them and part of me. I was, I don’t think I was ready to play in the NBA when I get drafted. I play two more years in Europe and I have a lot of minutes this two years, so I think I improved a lot. I still have to improve, but I think now is the moment.
** Will be going to Vegas with the team, but won’t be playing in games. After that, it’ll be his first trip to P3. After that, it’s back to Brazil to get his visa and paperwork done. And then after that, back to Utah.
What do you bring?
I’m here to improve. I’m here to help, whatever what they want. But I think I can be kind of a pure point guard. I can make my teammates better. That’s why I’m here.
Where do you need to improve the most?
I think shooting. I think I gotta be used to shoot from distance of the 3-point shot here. NBA is different than in Europe. I think that’s the first thing I have to improve.
Your dad is a huge John Stockton fan. What does he think of your signing?
I think he’s happiest than me. He was the first person I called after I signed the contract. He was so happy, and I think there’s no words for him. I think he loved how John Stockton played, and he want me to get drafted by the Utah. So, I think he’s so happy.
What number will you wear?
I used to play with the number 8, but I know it’s somebody [has it]. I mean, I just don’t care. I just want to wear the Jazz gear.
Which of your future Jazz teammates have you spent time with?
With Rudy Gobert…We played together in the summer league. I think he has something about, like, European game. I think we can be good together.
The Jazz say you make your teammates better. How do you do that?
I think I’m always learn, as a point guard, to do that. I think I, when I start to play basketball, I just wanted to make points. I just want to be the scorer of the team.
And once I go to Spain, they change me there. So, I think that came natural. I think you, if you play in Spain and you, if you are this kind of point guard that just don’t make the team play, you are done. You cannot play there. So, I think I just learn natural.
Which NBA players do you try to emulate?
I like Steve Nash…Tony Parker too. I think they all have, like, European kind of basketball…
[Playing with balance] is one thing that I’ve been practice this week with Igor [Kokoskov], coach Igor. He used to coach Steve Nash, so I was practicing that a lot…I think it’s really make a difference when you take the shot. ‘Cause if you’re not balanced, you probably miss.
Do you have national team commitments this summer?
I had it, but I’m not going anymore. I was practice one month with them. They’re, they are going tonight, I think, to Toronto to the Pan-American Games. But I’m not go.
Will you be bringing anyone over to live with you?
I think I’m gonna do by myself…I’ve been living by myself since I was 18 years old, so…
The hardest thing for me is gonna be the English, I think. I’m, I gotta do better…I don’t feel comfortable speak English. You know, I’ve been in Spain. At the beginning, that was the same. I couldn’t speak any Spanish. But I, it took, like, three months until I understand everything.
** Alex Jensen on Raul Neto: The thing I like about Raul, his dad was a coach. It’s always fun to coach somebody who’s dad was a coach, ’cause he knows the game, and he’s a good kid. And I think everybody’s excited when a poin–a pass, you know, pass-first point guard comes.