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Season Review: Neemias Queta

The 23-year-old center out of Utah State continues to dominate the G League while he waits for an NBA opportunity.
By | 13 Comments | Jun 10, 2023

Feb 19, 2023; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Team Scoot center Neemias Queta (88) jukes Team Luka defense during the second half at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Neemias Queta was drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the 39th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Two years later, and I’m not sure we know anything more about his ability to play consistent NBA minutes than we did on draft night.

Queta appeared in just 5 games for the King in 2022-23, down from the 15 games he played in his rookie season. And with the Kings climbing out of a 16-year rebuild, NBA minutes for the sake of development no longer exist in Sacramento.

The 23-year-old center out of Utah State had a strong year for the Stockton Kings, though, so we should touch on that. Queta averaged 16.8 points shooting an incredibly efficient 68% from the field, and filled up the rest of his stat sheet with 8.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 0.9 steals. Queta was named to the All-NBA G League First Team, NBA G League All-Defensive Team, and finished second in NBA G League MVP voting.

Queta checks a lot of boxes the Kings need out of a backup center moving forward. In theory.

Neemy is a very large man that moves surprisingly well. He can defend the paint better than anyone on the roster right now, so long as he isn’t getting into foul trouble. He can rebound. His skill as a passer is high enough that Mike Brown could probably get away with running some of the same sets he’s already running through Domantas Sabonis.

The problem is that the Kings have shown no signs of giving him an NBA opportunity, and that makes it difficult to expect much out of him moving forward despite the G League tests he continues to ace.

Queta is heading into restricted free agency this summer, so the Kings can keep him around if they choose to do so. And if Monte McNair decides to re-sign him, and Mike Brown decides to give him a shot, great. Let’s see what he can do.

But he’s reached the level of G League success where the likely best option for him is to find a rebuilding NBA team that can afford those bumpy developmental minutes the Kings can’t. Neemy is an incredibly easy player to root for, and I’d like to see him get an opportunity to show the world what he can do on the biggest stage, for better or worse, here or elsewhere.

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Jman1949
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June 10, 2023 9:42 am

Is this the year we find Neemie?

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Last edited 1 year ago by Jman1949
Hamlet1989
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June 10, 2023 10:56 am

At $1,761,752, I would be shocked if Queta’s option isn’t picked-up. I could see him being a trade asset, at that price (Hello Detroit). It’s hard to see how he isn’t capable of giving Sac at least as much as Alex Len, if not already than at least going forward. I’m a little surprised Len isn’t mentioned in the article above given his spot is the obvious future opening for Neemie. Tony did state that Queta “can defend the paint better than anyone on the roster right now, so long as he isn’t getting into foul trouble.” If that is true then why were we watching Alex Len in the playoffs? The foul trouble is the answer, I suppose.
A 23 yr. old, D-league MVP, for the league minimum, with a game profile that fills perfectly (on paper, at least) the Kings most glaring weakness, sure seems like a no-brainer. He seems humble, likeable, coachable, and obviously talented. He also may be MM’s first, best chance to add a meaningful contributor, from the 2nd round, to the rotation, outside of Stockton (Gabe Vincent, Keon Ellis?)
Nemias Queta is like a dream come true, but so far is just a fantasy. In order to make fantasy a reality, they should treat him like a non-real asset, draft his replacement in Stockton, Bring Queta to Sac, and hope to watch him elevate his game, above his competition.
I’ve been watching video of James Nnaji, and I see a guy people, in Sac, should be talking about. I haven’t heard him mentioned, probably hasn’t got an agent with juice in America. He’s only 18, can’t shoot, (won’t need the ball) is long, strong, and ranked #24 on ESPN’s top-prospects. I think we could expect him to compete, hard, at the very least. I also could see him playing a big version of Mitchell/Delevedova, at the practice facility.
Sacramento is on the upswing. They have nowhere to go but upward this upcoming season, as long as they continue to avoid major injuries, and as long as MM continues to draft well, and no bad trades. He’s earned confidence, along with the entire franchise from, Monte, to Mike Brown, De’Aaron and Domas, it’s all encouraging. Keep positive, keep humble, and keep power to the wheels. The climb from playoff contender, to championship contender, to CHAMPION! is the steepest yet. This is no time to coast for anyone associated with the franchise. It’s time now for Vivek to step up and spend!

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June 10, 2023 10:56 am

The Queta Question Quagmire

Hobby916
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June 10, 2023 11:01 am

Sure, keep him around. Invested all this time and effort in to him, shouldn’t let him walk until you see what he can do with minutes. It’s a low risk maneuver.

TheGrantNapear
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June 10, 2023 11:25 am

https://www.theringer.com/nba-finals/2023/6/10/23756343/aaron-gordon-denver-nuggets-2023-nba-finals-matchup-nightmare

The effect that Aaron Gordon has had at unleashing this version of the Nuggets is abundantly clear. The acquisition of Gordon really took Murray and Joker and this team to another level. He’s exactly the type of player we need at the 4 next to Domas (except we need said type of player to be able to shoot 3’s given Domas’ inability to shoot and space the floor). The one player that comes to mind as a comp and who can also shoot is Jerami Grant. Grant and Gordon are pretty similar players in a lot of ways. The Gordon effect has me thinking about what kind of effect Grant could have on Fox and Ox and the rest of the gang.

Fox
KH
KM
Jerami Grant
Domas

Davion, Monk, Sasha, Thybulle, Lyles, Kris Murray

I think cap wise this roster would be possible if we can get Lyles and Thybulle on team friendly deals. I also think this roster would have the potential to contend for a title next year.

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June 10, 2023 12:45 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

What is an important part of the discussion about Aaron Gordon is how he has accepted his role.

I agree with your premise – he has two stars, a scoring PG and a passing rebounding 5. Sound familiar? Daddy Sabonis was Jokic before Jokic, but our wonderful Domas is an All-Star, not a Superstar. Gordon is that athletic “Big Wing” – not exactly a PF in the traditional sense, and not a SF. He defends, he rebounds, he scores some.

Do the Kings have anyone like that?

AG has career stats of 13+ppg/6 rpg.

Well, IMO, they do – it’s Harrison Barnes. He ain’t Slam Dunk sexy like Aaron Gordon, but his career 14 ppg/5 rpg is very similar. He is also a “Big Wing” – not quite strong and wide enough to be a traditional PF, and not a SF.

HB is also a team first guy, accepts his role, great off and on the court, and accepts much the same assignments that Denver’s starter does.

What sets Nuggets apart from Sac, roster-wise, is MVP Jokic first and foremost (like Milwaukee and Giannis) but it’s also height/size. I’d like to see, like we’ve all said most all season, is a big and better back up for Domas and a big 4/5 to play beside him.

(I’ve a hankering for a Nikola – no, no, not Miami’s Jovic, but Chicago’s UFA Vucevic).

We all have our own list of brilliant favorites, he’s mine, despite his defensive limitations. He can play alongside Domas and in place of him should injury happen (which is likely given the beatings that The Ox endures).

And re-sign HB.

A thousand ways to go, it’ll be fun seeing how it plays out.

TheGrantNapear
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June 10, 2023 5:28 pm

I get your points, but I believe HB and Gordon are simply two completely different players. HB doesn’t provide the defense and athleticism that we need at the 4 next to Domas. I truly believe a stretch 4 that is athletic and plays D can unlock this roster to another level. I’m curious to see how MM addresses the spot this offseason, it’s going to be telling. It wouldn’t surprise me to see MM make a big move for a legit 4.
Gordon was a bit of a distressed asset when he was traded from ORL, I hope we can find a similar asset to trade for sign this offseason.

jwalker1395
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June 10, 2023 10:58 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Grant is not Gordon he’s too expensive, too old and doesn’t play enough defense to fit. Pass.

ArcoThunder
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June 13, 2023 2:41 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

This is strong. It’s what I’ve been kind of thinking since the end of the season. Improvement needs to happen at the 4. Grant over Barnes is that. I love Barnes but Grant brings the things this roster needs more of and simultaneously continues doing the things Barnes does.

I also agree that your suggested roster above would be a contender. If Vivek is willing to pay a tax and you can simultaneously retain Barnes… now you’re looking at something very very special.

murraytant
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June 10, 2023 1:21 pm

I stood next to Q on the sideline once. He is one big dude. Huge. His butt was at my neck level.

He moves better than Alex but he does not always move with a purpose. He fouls.
He scores when un-defended but once he got his shot this year, his scoring was thwarted because at the NBA level, they guard.
Big guys take time to develop- Londale, D. Jones, etc.
so maybe.

Speaking of Londale, he would not be bad. Much better than some of the other big guys mentioned, like Plumlee.
I hope MM drafts BPA and fills in the holes later.
No team is perfect- all teams utilize what they have. Look at the Heat- no size yet they do well.
In the West- glaring problems with the duds, with Suns, Memphis, Minny, Dallas. LAC, LAL.
Denver is the only team, as of now, that is close to complete.
MM- go for BPA, go t for shooting, fill in details later.

Sasha- hurt his knee. Does not appear serious but how will he react- will he say, boy that was close, I am 27 years old, if I want the NBA, I had better go now. or will he say that was close, better stay here and cement my legacy. If he does not sign this summer, his window has passed. Kings will move on and not devote any energy and effort his way. The chances of another team making a trade for his rights are slim to none. He will end up as Dijon Bodoriga.
Last summer- Kings had interest and an offer. This summer- huge interest and an offer. This is his shot.
Apparently, he wants 10 M per year, Kings offering 4-5. He makes a little over 1 M now and that is not his Euro ceiling but close. Three years with Kings is = to 9 Euro years and at 27, that has to tempt him. If not, he has a confidence or ego problem.
while a perfect 4 guy- one who hits the three, guards the rim and rebounds may just not be available. So skip that and avoid a second tier guy for that role and load up in other places.
There are 3 options: draft, free agency and trade. Use all. Take what the draft gives, don’t try to force it and keep in mind that this is a process. There is a window but there is a process. No pick next year in what may/could be weak draft in late first round.

murraytant
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June 10, 2023 1:34 pm

Jordi did not get hired by Toronto

NorCalKingsFan
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June 10, 2023 6:10 pm

Queta should be on the roster next year. This is what developing a player looks like, they play at a lower level learning the game until they dominate the competition; which Queta has done. He’s already no worse than Len, and has way more upside. That kind of potential at that low of a price point is a no-brainer to me.

The Kings are going to be striving for a playoff series win next year and while its been said that developmental minutes aren’t available, we saw a lot of development this year from Keegan and TD and to a lesser extent, Edwards and Kessler. With Fox and Sabonis playing as well as they do together, they still need help and development of all players on the roster is a never ending process.

jwalker1395
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June 10, 2023 10:54 pm

My vote is to have him as the 3rd string center who gets 6 minutes a night or as a specialist against particularly big dudes – essentially take Alex Len’s spot. If he can’t do that then move on, but he seems intriguing enough to try.

I think the Kings could get away going into next season with Sabonis, Lyles, and Queta at center. Between Lyles and Queta, you essentially recreate Domas in the composite.

Vezenkov should back up the 4 spot (Barnes? Keegan? Someone else?) as a stretch option. Ideally you’d get a long defensive specialist to fill the defensive gap in the frontcourt, but I otherwise think those players have sufficient length and defensive versatility for the time being – though we must get defensive help at some point.

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