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Auburn Hills, Mich. • The elder Raul Neto loved to watch his favorite NBA player, John Stockton, suit up for the Utah Jazz.
When his son's name was announced to a chorus of boos here Wednesday night, Raul Neto had done something Stockton didn't do: He started a season opener as a rookie.
Neto, 23, became the first Jazz rookie to start a season opener since Luther Wright in 1993 and the first Jazz point guard to start as a rookie since Duck Williams in 1979.
"It's not a thing that I think about too much," Neto said before the game. "… It's not like a big deal. We have 12 players that can play. It doesn't matter who starts and who finishes the game."
In his debut, Neto scored eight points and dished out three assists. He gave the Jazz a scare in the second quarter when he landed awkwardly and clutched his knee on the floor a while. But the Brazilian point guard, who has four years of professional experience in Spain, was able to return.
"I was a little nervous because we need him," Derrick Favor said afterward.
There have been questions swirling since point guard Dante Exum tore his ACL in August about what the Jazz's starting backcourt would look like this season. On Wednesday night, coach Quin Snyder gave the nod to Neto and second-year shooting guard Rodney Hood.
Snyder called the issue "overblown," and said the decisions weren't demotions for point guard Trey Burke and shooting guard Alec Burks.
"It has nothing to do with any type of judgment about who's a better player," Snyder said. "We should introduce the whole team, and then it wouldn't even be an issue."
Snyder had said he might want to hide some of his squad's youth in the starting lineup and added that Hood's shooting will help with spacing on the offensive end of the floor.
Burke, playing about an hour's drive from where he starred for the University of Michigan, finished last season as a scoring punch off the Utah bench and took Wednesday's news in stride.
"I'm sure that's important for everybody. I think that's the goal for everybody," he said when asked if he wanted to be an NBA starter. "But not really. Right now it's not important to me. I know what type of role I have on this team. I know how important I am to the team, so I don't let it affect me."
He said neither he nor Burks would view their roles as demotions.
"We know we're going to play," he said. "With us two coming off the bench … we look at it like we're going to have a deep bench this year and teams are going to have to prepare for that just like they do starting lineups."
On Wednesday night, Burks scored 18 points off the bench. Burke went scoreless, finishing with an assist and a rebound in 15 minutes.