Sacramento Kings general manager Monte McNair said Thursday night one of the team’s priorities this offseason was to improve the team’s defense. Though they weren’t focused on targeting defense in the NBA Draft necessarily, he said through “happenstance” they landed two specialists on that side of the ball.
Davion Mitchell, a guard out of Baylor, is known for his tenacity on defense and was named the 2021 National Defensive Player of the Year. Mitchell, nicknamed “Off Night” because his opponents typically have an off night against him, also earned Big 12 All-Defensive Team in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. He led the Baylor to the 2021 NCAA Championship. With the 39th pick, the Kings selected Neemias Queta out of Utah State. Queta, a 7-foot center, earned the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019 and 2020. He also holds records At Utah State for the most career blocks (219) and blocks per game (2.5).
“One of our priorities this offseason was to improve our defense and Davion, we saw him guard positions 1 to 4. We think he can come in and do just that from the get-go. Then of course, with Neemias’ size … his shot blocking ability. But really it was more happenstance, we didn’t go in targeting defense necessarily, we wanted the best players, the best talents, the best people we could get and obviously excited they ended up being two pretty darn good defenders as well,” McNair said.
Best player available over fit is something McNair reiterated regularly during his post-draft media session.
There were some questions following the Mitchell pick as to whether he worked out with the Kings before the draft. McNair confirmed that the Kings did not bring him in for a workout, but that they interviewed him at the Combine, saw him on the floor live and on film, and had scouts at Baylor games.
“We’ve been following him for years,” McNair said. “We know exactly what he’s about and he’s exactly the type of guy we want to bring in here so that made it an easy decision for us. … I love everything that Davion brings, that he stands for. The mentality that he’s going to go in and shut down the other team’s best player, which he did all through his college year. Just an incredible asset to add into the team we’re building here.”
A few other notes:
- McNair didn’t really address much about the trade rumors this week leading up the draft: “There will be rumors out there and obviously it’s our job to explore those.”
- There are questions about whether Mitchell’s shooting last season was a fluke. He shot 44 percent from three last season, but only 32 percent the previous season and his college career free throw percentage is 65 percent. McNair said he is confident that Mitchell will be able to shoot the ball from three because they graded him out as one of the “best workers in the entire draft.” He noted the type of threes Mitchell made last season – tough, deep shots off the dribble as he described them.
- There are also questions about the fact that Mitchell is 22 years old and older players coming out of college not having a great track record in the NBA. McNair said: “A younger prospect I guess has more time to develop, but Davion is already there, played at an extremely high level. Arguably the highest level in college basketball this year as the leader of a national champion.”
- On Queta: “I’m actually I guess happy he was playing at Utah State, maybe stayed under the radar for us. I don’t understand how a 7-footer who blocks 100 shots in a year stays under the radar, but incredible defensive capabilities, but I think what’s intriguing about him and is still under the radar is his offensive package, his IQ, his passing, one of the best passing big men in the game. Ability to show touch from outside and really score inside. Obviously, his size will help on the glass. Hopefully he’ll make a bigger name for himself in Sacramento.”
Mitchell and Queta will travel to Sacramento now. No word yet on if both will be available to play in the California Classic.
Watch the full press conference here. And stay for the credits at the end of the movie where Monte gives a few special shout outs:
The roster construction still makes no sense without some major major moves.
Holmes takes the MLE, no resign of Davis.
Hali, Wright, Ramsey
Barnes, Buddy, James, King
Bagley, Metu, Woodard
Holmes, Jones, Queta
Buddy for a SF would be ideal, but I actually think it’s far from “no sense”
Kings will be lucky to even win 20 games with this roster.
hahahaha…20 games with the same roster last year plus development of fox/hali/bagley, adding Mitchell and another year in the same system? Copy that bud
You’re probably right.
35 it is. And I’m sooo excited.
Please. More or less the same roster has played .430 ball two years in a row. 20 minutes of Mitchell isn’t going to change that.
I don’t agree with 20 games, however the “same system” doesn’t feel like a good one to me. And we can’t pretend we are the only team that added players or has development
Why does it matter, the current roster is bad. Add elite talent however possible. These are the two best defenders in the entire draft and both are ALSO fantastic offensive prospects, and leaders. This draft was an A+.
Barnes, garuba, herb Jones, among others were listed as the best defenders in the draft. I’ll say that Mitchell is the best defender at the point guard slot.
The draft, in my opinion, is incomplete. If the season starts, and our roster is still the same, then I’ll say kings had a C draft. I appreciate your enthusiasm for the players picked. I just wish I shared that.
I didn’t read all the comments yet. So my bad if someone already mentioned this but the Lakers sb nation has pretty good article that may shed some more light. Basically Wiz need a PG. Dennis shroder can’t be in trade talks till free agency starts. So to avoid what happened last year, it’s possible that Russ trade was announced but in reality what might happen is that after FA starts, we send buddy to LA, wiz get KCP and Dennis via sign & trade. Kings get Kuzma and harrel.
another thing to note is that kcp and harrel are klutch clients. It seems very unlikely that Lakers would blind side both of them like that. Considering their two stars and their relationship to Klutch.
I think we are just getting started here.
I’ll head over that way to see what you mean. Thank you.
Here is the link bud. There’s plenty more to it that might make you think that Russ deal is not what’s being reported. Like Harrell opted in only because of the role he’d have in sac and because of his relationship with Rico Hines. He has no interest in Wiz.
The other analysis that is blowing through the talking head circuit is that Wizards are going to trade Harrell and KCP to the Nets for Dinwiddie. That makes more sense to me.
Monte McNair doesn’t play games. Damn!
The BPA is a player we are bringing off the bench for the nest five years!
Perhaps he envisions a three guard starting five. If Davion is as advertised on defense, he should be starting from day one.
I’m assuming buddy sits and kings slot haliburton as the 3 in that scenario?
LOL, “harmless logical question gets disproportionate amount of down votes” … I agree with you, that’s what I’m hoping/assuming the plan is unless there are more moves coming.
Have a thumb to get off the o-for.
That’s a really small lineup. Can work in spurts but not sure it could work as your future starting 5 with all 3 of Fox, Haliburton and Mitchell.
It’s not *that* much smaller than the (very positive) closing lineup the Kings were running last season with Holmes/Barnes/Buddy/Hali/Fox. Swapping Mitchell for Buddy in that lineup probably improves it defensively despite the lost size though obviously gives up some shooting and maybe some rebounding.
I don’t see that happening.
I think he gets plenty of minutes but he doesn’t start so long as Fox and Hali are the core of the franchise!
Even if he starts, the three won’t share a ton of minutes together. Ideally you’ll have two of the three on the court at all times, mixing and matching.
That’s a fun lineup, but doubt it would equate to a play in spot over the course of a season.
Did we trade for Jimmy Butler?
Shit did we?
Smart comes off the bench for a legit team
I love the downvote for an actual fact lol
Wasn’t me. But there are some liberal down voters out there!
“Never let facts get in the way of a good down vote”
Signed, Knights Herald commenters
Yeah. thanks for confirming this:
You are saying that the Kings FO felt that the BPA at the No. 9 this year has a Marcus Smart ceiling. That’s fine and all, but that is what it is.
Marcus Smart has the 7th most win shares in his draft class…if Mitchell produces top ten win shares in this draft class, then that’s probably a good pick.
Butler, sorry meant Mitchell.
Very easy to confuse with Davion Butler.
Absolutely nothing wrong with a good player off the bench. They can still get starter minutes and give starter impact even if they aren’t on the floor at tip off. That said, Smart isn’t an especially good comp. Smart is bigger thus more versatile defensively, and a better facilitator. Mitchell is a better shooter.
i don’t think that’s necessarily true. His contract lines up with fox. We have four years to do positive things here. We are assuming Mitchel would develop into a player that needs to start. Hopefully he does. If that happens, that’s a great problem to have. We would still have team control w/ RFA. And if it turns into a buddy like situation, and someone really doesn’t want to come off the bench, you have a starting caliber player under team control who can be traded to bring in whatever pieces the team may need at that time. Or maybe trade one of the other two if they don’t live up to the expectations. I think this was great move by monte to stick with BPA. As much as I love Hali, Mitchel would be perfect insurance for Hali’s spot in case something really goes wrong with Hali’s development.
That was 20 minutes of saying about 30 seconds of information. This is pretty much par for the course, but for whatever reason, it bugs me more with McNair.
Also, if you’re a public figure, calling out your critics is childish and bush league. You don’t want to be criticized, make a move to improve the team.
That was 20 minutes of saying about 30 seconds of information.
sounds like our governor.
I’ll upvote that. I agree with the guy more than I don’t (and there’s enough where I don’t), but GET TO THE FREAKING POINT MAN.
Childish and bush league? Lol OK.
I guess blogboys gotta stick together and you feel it’s necessary to “stick up” for them, but they’re big boys, they’re adults – they can take getting called out. They do it enough themselves to everyone else. Just a small taste of the medicine they love to give out routinely.
(I liked your selections, btw)
I expect a certain level of professionalism from the General Manager of an NBA team. I’m not sure at all that it was in good fun. On other end, we’re talking about Greg, ruiner of things.
If he was funny, sure.
He was funny. Stick to gardening!
Are we talking Gervais or McNair? Gervais is hilarious. Mean, but hilarious. McNair I don’t find too much of a cut up, but that ain’t his job. In my defense, I never said I was actually good at cutting grass!
I don’t find Ricky Gervais funny.
of course you don’t
Idk bro. I kind of appreciate that he joked about that. Made me feel like fan opinion matters to him also that he’s not some dude on a high horse that’s too big league to talk to local writers. I also think this is who he really is. Guy who likes to joke around rather than being all up tight like he seemed so far. I think he’s just finally getting comfortable and his personality is starting to show.
I thought that was funny!
Surprised Monte didn’t address the failed Buddy-Fakers trade.
Most of us are disappointed with the draft, but it is what is. F/A and trades next week, hopefully the three B’s are traded next week.
From what I’m hearing they are still in shock. They had their path it changed and there is nothing else going on in the background…yet.
Also still no receipts but what I was told was reported now nationally on how the trade was verbally agreed on and all parties thought they were going to their new teams.
With that being said I got some more info from that same source. I can’t say anything because it would be very clear who the person could possibly be that is sharing said info. But even if it’s half true….I’m done. It sucks not being able to say it and trust me I want to share it badly just for the sheer told ya so’s that would come raining down from this place. But this shit isn’t ever going to change until Vivek is gone. Same show different ponies.
If there was a verbal agreement, aren’t the Lakers in the wrong as opposed to the Kings? I’m assuming teams reneging on a verbally agreed upon trade happens very rarely. Surprised the media isn’t covering this. Laker elitism at its finest.
I think most teams would reneg on a trade that didn’t change what you had to give up but you get Westbrook in place of Buddy…I feel like the Lakers didn’t expect to be able to get Russ for a bag of chips
Yeah, I’m sure McNair and Pelinka had a trade in the works. Pelinka probably left the trade conversation open and told McNair: “Hey, we have a deal for now, but if you get a better trade package for Buddy, take it in all honesty. If I get a better trade package for my guys, I will have to take it too. Let’s just call it a gentleman agreement”.
The rumor of Westbrook wanting out of DC came out recently, and the Wizards shipped him out quickly to avoid any media noise (see Lillard). Pelinka had plans A, B, and C while McNair only had plan A with Hield until FA starts.
This might shed some light. It may not be over just yet.
Yes, and to take it even further, there is no “wrong” it just didn’t happen. I don’t see what this has to do with the Kings front office at all. The Lakers found a deal they liked better. What are you gonna do?
Damn, now I really want to know.
Are you suggesting Vivek nixed the deal because he didn’t want Buddy to leave?
This is why we need a TKH Slack channel.
What about Discord? Does anyone use that?
Here, everyone just text me their Kings dirt:
I got your number on the wall
Kosta posting SMF’s number:
I’m suggesting that I feel bad for McNair. I’m suggesting that it’s not coincidental we are making the same mistakes with poor roster construction yet again even though we have a “new” GM. I’m suggesting once upon a time in Detroit they would have loved to have Davion Mitchell. I’m suggesting Vlade loved taking big men and could justify that pick to his boss. Now we love taking guards….hmmm.
I think it’s safe to assume that the one doing the drafting for us is Jerry Reynolds.
He let it slip by praising Davion Mitchell on more than one occasion during the podcasts.
I don’t understand the point of having a GM if you are going to let certain individuals make the call anyway.
I get what you’re saying, but it’s quite possible that McNair takes Mitchell anyway.
That said, if Joe Dumars is running the show, put him in charge.
your “source” huh?
fans do have sources at times
Does Grant count as a source?
Then don’t even start it.
“Internet rando refuses to share alleged internet sources, but luckily reading audience largely unaffected”
Isn’t it better that he doesn’t burn bridges for future trades by calling out the Lakers for switching deals? Or, if for some reason the Kings shuttered the deal, isn’t it better that he doesn’t go around saying he had a better deal two days ago?
Vlade was way in above his head literally no one can dispute that even within the kings org now. But funny thing about the whole we had a better deal two days ago thing, anyone remember why they didn’t take that better deal two days ago?
It’s entirely possible Pelinka called Monte before the Wizards trade was made or shortly after, explained that Russ became available out of nowhere, Monte said he understood and would have done the same thing, and they hung up the phone agreeing to the next part of the deal discussed above when it’s allowed by the league.
No bridges burned, open communication on another deal down the road.
My God, this world would be a better place if people didn’t just assume the worst of others all the time.
I’m all for BPA, but I guess I disagree on who it was.
Seems like the classic parlay a hot tournament and shooting mirage into an inflated draft stock. The most overhyped prospect in this class.
And I doubt he’s been following him for years. I don’t even recall him having first round consideration before March Madness, let alone in his fully pedestrian college career of years past.
Seems to me like Giddey and Wagner coming off the board threw everything out of whack and he was scrambling to pick up the pieces.
you really think Monte is so dumb that he has no plan for what to do if Wagner or Hidden were off the board?? lol it’s literally his job to have contingency plans. this is the guy they wanted considering who was left
Fair people can disagree with taking Mitchell and the strategy, but these kind of takes the last 24 hours are ridiculous:
Assuming a paid professional basketball team staff didn’t plan for what would happen if their preferred players were gone, is just a lazy and nonsensical take. Doesn’t mean they will get the choice right, but we create this mental image of Wagner coming off the board and then Monte is like “Oh shit, never would have guessed. Quick fire up the NCAA tournament tape, who do we like? We got 5 mins everyone!”
Like, just c’mon
Totally agree. I’m sure they had a draft board and they used it. As a big critic of the lack of movement to improve the team, I’m actually happy they picked yet another guard.
It puts pressure on them to actually do something, and McNair hinted at that in the presser. If they walk into next season with half a roster of guards, they’re going to start being compared to Vlade F. Divac, and there’s no bigger insult to a NBA front office executive.
Agreed and thumbed, I assume “draft boards” – even if scribbled on a dry erase board – are used as an actual ranking system, right?
As in, they may have had Wagner ranked one spot ahead of Mitchell, and when Wagner went 8, they … wait for it … went Mitchell at 9?
Plausible. Veeeeeeery plausible.
Look, if Mitchell becomes a B-Jax level contributor, he’s a fine pick at 9.
That said, compare the day to the Dubs, Lakers, Clips, Rockets, Thunder, and maybe the Griz and Pels. Did the Kings gain or lose ground on these teams? Do you see this team climbing above the 12 seed, and if so, to where? 11? 10?
Monte can spend his time tweaking the noses of his critics if he likes, and I think that it’s all in good fun. But scoreboard is scoreboard. Humility should really rule the day (and weeks) (and months) (and years) for the Sacramento Kings.
Welcome to Sacramento, Davion. I look forward to watching your energy.
Rockets, Dubs and Magic killed it.
I really throught we would at least trade into the teens and pickup another player as there were still highly rated players available.
It should be fairly easy to “kill it” on draft night when you have multiple first round picks. Like the Rockets, Dubs and Magic did. Maybe if we’d have committed to the tank last season we’d be sitting here with Josh Giddey instead…lol
Ya they definetely had players fall into their lap. The Magic certainly weren’t expecting Suggs to be there, nor the Dubs Kuminga, nor the Rockets Sengun.
2 of the 3 tanked and reaped the rewards of this draft whilst the Kings keep on with the same yearly plan.
Is Davion 6’0 or 6’2? I’m seeing conflicting heights listed for him online.
I keep hearing that is sub 6’1″ without shoes and 6’2″ in shoes. But whatevers, no dispute he will be a shorter guard.
He’s 4 or 5 inches taller than Isaiah Thomas!
And 2 years older than Isaiah Thomas too!
Damn lawyers! 😛
Wait, he’s 34?
But what is he for comparison sake? For instance, Chris Paul is listed as 6’0″. Is that Paul’s height with or without shoes? Is the average player 6’7″ with or without shoes? My feeling is that we should think of him as 6’2″ for comparison sake because it seems that most player’s heights are taken with shoes on — but idk.
I’ve always heard everyone’s height includes two inches for shoes.
Though if you actually look at two inches on a ruler, that seems more like high heels, but so be it.
Neemias and Davion at the California Classics
He’s 6’0″ without shoes, 6’1.25″ with shoes.
In other words, he’s 6’0″
I will never understand the NBA measuring guys with their shoes on.
I’m like 5’10” in my mountain biking shoes – I would totally wear them to the old man rec league combine for measurement
I’m like 6 feet with roller skates.
I’m 7’3 with stilts
Can you play SF in them?
“guard positions 1-4”