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30Q: Can Neemias Queta’s Eurobasket success translate to the Kings?

Neemias Queta played two games with his national team this summer and dominated both.

While many people are focused on the current 2022 Eurobasket tournament taking place that featured players such as Domantas Sabonis, Alex Len, Sasha Vezenkov, and other members of the Sacramento Kings played basketball within the last few weeks as well. 

Neemias Queta, the first NBA player from Portugal, played a pair of 2025 Eurobasket pre-qualifiers games for the Portuguese national team this summer. Sacramento’s big man was clearly the star of the roster and was therefore the focal point for his team on both ends of the floor.

Queta was often the biggest player on the floor during his time with both the Sacramento and Stockton Kings, and his 7’0” frame along with a 7’4” wingspan gave him a substantial advantage over both Romania and Cyprus in his two international showings.

That’s not to take away from Queta’s skillset, fundamentals, and ability on the floor which was fully displayed in these 40-minute games. Game one came against Romania, where Queta managed 20 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks while converting 10/18 from the field in just under 26 minutes of playing time. 

Romania’s big came close to matching Queta’s height, but his mobility wasn't even remotely comparable. Sacramento’s big was a force to be reckoned with in the pick-and-roll, setting monster screens and rolling hard to the basket with the intent to finish and utilize his improved footwork when needed. Other times, his sheer power was more than enough.

Queta, who is still getting accustomed to playing at his current weight, could benefit from playing a more physical brand of basketball as time goes on, but his finesse moves are impressive nonetheless.

His soft touch around the rim with both hands, willingness to take jump shots, and flashes of stellar footwork were displayed in Las Vegas for Summer League and that clearly carried over into his international performances.

As you can see in the final portion of those clips, calling Neemias Queta’s size advantage significant feels like a massive understatement. I couldn’t help but feel bad for the Cyprus “big” that was tasked with slowing down the seven-footer.

In his second game with Portugal, Neemias Queta somewhat casually tallied 17 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks on 7/12 from the field in 23.5 minutes of playing time.

Obviously, Quetta’s overwhelming size also was an advantage on the defensive end of the floor where I’m sure Sacramento is hoping to see significant progress. There were times throughout the two showings that he seemed a bit too eager to send a shot attempt into the third row, but even when he fell for pump fakes he was often able to recover and alter the subsequent attempt. 

Five total blocks doesn’t paint the full picture of just how dominant of a defensive presence at the rim Queta was. Portugal comfortably won both of their showings by a combined 49 points. The opposition was consistently scared to drive into the paint but instead settled for jumpers as evident by neither team scoring more then 70 points.

It's also worth noting that Queta attempted three triples throughout these games, but did not succeed in converting any of them. They weren’t all exactly close either.

Given the context of his teammates, opposition, plus the ridiculously small sample size of two games, it’s hard to take all too much from the time Neemias Queta spent playing for Portugal this summer. It went somewhat as expected for the 39th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

His size was his greatest advantage and he excelled in using that to dominate around the basket on both ends of the floor while leading his country to two comfortable victories. Hopefully, Queta can carry over some of this positive momentum into training camp at the end of September.

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Jack
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September 8, 2022 2:48 pm

I like his footwork on offense. Much improved. On defense he still needs to not take in fakes but stay on the floor. I might be convinced with a little more work could take Lens place. Won’t have to play that many minutes.

Sacto_J
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September 8, 2022 3:33 pm

Queta seems like the right kind of project big man. And you can tell he’s been putting in the work trying to grow into a role that’s sustainable for the NBA. I really hope he can make it happen, he’s a fun dude to watch.

catterj
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September 8, 2022 4:36 pm

If Richaun is eventually traded (which should have happened already), I do believe Queta can be promoted to a standard minimum NBA contract and definitely at least fill the spot of third-string center, perhaps compete with Len for primary backup after Domas. I’ve seen enough in those last couple Kings games and during Summer League for me to be bought-in on that.

andy_sims
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September 9, 2022 8:53 am
Reply to  catterj

Which deal offered for Holmes would you have taken?

catterj
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September 9, 2022 9:09 am
Reply to  andy_sims

AFAIK, there were no reported deals offered for Holmes. Matt George reported there was not much interest in the trade market while at the same time reporting that Mike Brown is a big fan of Richaun and had a Zoom call with him while still associate head coach of the Warriors. I think the Kings probably never considered trading him because Brown is a fan.

I said that a Holmes trade should have happened already because that is my opinion. He has a good contract for a solid starting center but not for a backup center slated to play 14 minutes per game behind a very good starting center (Sabonis). Richaun is also too good of a player to get just 14 minutes per game. If he plays more minutes that means with Sabonis which Sean Cunningham has quasi-reported might happen with that even meaning Holmes starts and Keegan is a sub.

Richaun cryptically stated in a tweet that reinvention is a beautiful thing. Hopefully that means he is reinventing his game to have a corner three, trailer three, and be able to hit the above the break three in roll/replace or other two big actions because if he’s not adding that three, I think any Sabonis/Holmes minutes will not work well on offense.

Then, he is traded at the deadline when he should have been traded in the offseason like Buddy and Bagley last year.

andy_sims
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September 9, 2022 11:03 am
Reply to  catterj

I appreciate all of the information, but to your last paragraph, should have been traded in the offseason like Buddy and Bagley last year, to which team, and for whom/what?

Should have suggests that conditions were favorable, and implies that someone is at fault for not making it happen. Is it McNair? Or is it the rest of the league?

And for what it’s worth, Hield & Bagley were traded during the season in 2022.

catterj
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September 9, 2022 2:33 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

It appears I was unclear. I did not intend to suggest that trade conditions were favorable by using “should have.” What I meant is that it is in the best interests of winning to trade Richaun, who can’t space the floor, now that Sabonis, who can’t space the floor, is going to play 33-35 MPG at center, so the team can acquire a player at a different position who will garner more minutes even if that player is not as high on the BPA scale as Holmes.

I did mean that someone is at fault, and I do think it is McNair or maybe one can fault Brown and McNair for doing what Brown wants in this case when it’s not the best for the team. I guess one could blame the rest of the league if they just criminally undervalued Holmes in trade talks, but I would say if that was the case then McNair should have gone ahead and swallowed the lesser player that fit better. When choosing between drafting BPA or for fit, it is implied that the “fit player” is not as overall good as the BPA. If Richaun is not thought of highly by other GMs, this would be a “fit trade” giving up the better player to get someone who will play more minutes at a position of need and thereby generate more wins.

I do see that my mention of Bagley and Hield was worded poorly. I meant they should have been traded in the 2021 offseason just like Holmes should have been traded in the 2022 offseason (still could but probably not).

Now, I read your comment to be asking for potential trades made up by me whereas before it seemed like you were asking what actual offered trades I would have taken. Well, I’m not very good at coming up with well-received trades. Maybe I undervalue our own players and overvalue other teams’ players which I’ve read is the opposite mindset of most fans. But I’ll throw two out, both with the same team.

The Charlotte Hornets drafted Mark Williams 15th, but do we really think he is ready to start and help them make a run this year? Instead they can get Holmes, start him, develop Williams, rehab Holmes’ rep with LaMelo feeding him, and trade him in turn the following year, his last before his player option.

That said, one trade I have seen others here propose is Hayward and a minor asset (inexpensive young player or 2nd rounder) for Barnes and Holmes. Charlotte gets a player type they need and a player who can somewhat adequately replace the player they are sending out. Others on their roster can also fill Hayward’s minutes. The Kings get the minor asset and a player who is more of a starting small forward than Barnes is. Hayward also has one more year on his deal whereas Barnes is expiring.

The other trade, probably gonna be derided here, is Oubre for Holmes. This is a “fit trade” mentioned above. I recognize that Holmes at his this year peak is probably better than Oubre at his this year peak. Oubre is also expiring which is not good. But he can play SF and fill in that spot behind Barnes being good for a backup. We’re trading a backup center when our starting center is fringe All-Star caliber and our current 3rd stringer is adequate for a backup small forward when our starting SF is not really a SF and our 3rd stringer is nobody. If the front office really wants to make that play-in, they should do some kind of trade like this.

Sacto_J
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September 9, 2022 2:55 pm
Reply to  catterj

“…and I do think it is McNair or maybe one can fault Brown and McNair for doing what Brown wants in this case when it’s not the best for the team.”

I stopped reading after this. Just… wow. I’m surprised they haven’t been banging down your door to hand you Monte’s job since you obviously know more than everyone who works closely with the team every single day.

andy_sims
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September 9, 2022 5:07 pm
Reply to  catterj

So. this is more of an “Ideally, the Kings would have…” as opposed to “the Kings should have traded Holmes.”

You write great stuff, smart and knowledgeable. Don’t let yourself be undermined by anything less than ideal word choices.

Pee and poop.

Last edited 23 days ago by andy_sims
murraytant
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September 8, 2022 6:17 pm

He is not perfect- still a bit awkward and a bit slow in making decisions at times. I am not sure of his NBA comp.

It does take big guys a few years to emerge- look at D, Jones last year – took him close to 5 years. and last year he was serviceable. His game is a bit different than Q though. Q may end up a better rim defender and a better passer.
I would love to see him emerge, allowing a Len trade. Opens a roster spot

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 8, 2022 8:43 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I kind of see Queta as an old school big. He uses his size and length on both ends of the floor, but doesn’t have the range or playmaking skills of desired modern day bigs. Unless he’s an elite defensive presence like Gobert, I think he’s more of a a Samuel Dalembet type player.

Sacto_J
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September 9, 2022 2:57 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

He shows flashes of range, tho. Not that I would WANT to see him jacking 3’s at the buzzer, or anything…lol

GreatSuccess
September 8, 2022 10:08 pm

He showed some great footwork in summer league. But he had a bad habit of using his off arm to clear out the defender, and usually got called for it. I’m surprised they didn’t clean that up in Stockton, it’s so blatant. Rooting for him though

1951
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September 9, 2022 7:40 am

Queta is the Harry Giles of Skal Labissières.

Daydreamer
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September 9, 2022 8:38 am
Reply to  1951

😁 Gosh, I hope not.

HongKongKingsFan
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September 9, 2022 8:42 am

His footwork is amazing !!!!!!!!!

andy_sims
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September 9, 2022 8:55 am

This is absolutely true. He looks leaner to me, but I’ve been watching Real Housewives of Fresno, so everyone looks thinner to me lately.

Want2win
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September 9, 2022 6:36 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Please tell that RHoF is a parody of some sort…

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