The Sacramento Kings‘ Summer League Team finished 3-0 in the California Classic, and while there were many positives throughout the three games, I want to highlight the recent second-round draft pick, Neemias Queta.
Queta averaged 12.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game in the Summer League, and he was tied for first in plus-minus at 14. He showed mobility while guarding on the perimeter, decent decision-making with the ball in his hands, okay passing with the potential to be pretty good, and the ability to protect the rim.
At 7’0 with a 7’4 wingspan and a good basketball IQ, he has a lot of promise.
He needs to be more dominant on the offensive end, but it’s not all his fault. The Kings weren’t putting him in situations where he can thrive.
Through three games, Queta barely posted up on the block and called for the ball. He hardly ever caught the ball at the elbow and faced his man. Most of the plays involving him were in the pick and roll with the ball handler, or he would catch the ball around the 3-point line as his teammates set off-ball picks or cut.
What we saw from Neemias in the Summer League
The majority of Queta’s points came from lobs, driving to the basket, or putbacks from his offensive rebounds. If he received more quality lobs, he would have easily averaged more points a game.
When he drove to the basket, he was sometimes out of control and had a tendency to use his off-arm to create space. Instead of making it easier on himself by posting up on the block, he had to work harder to beat his man off the dribble.
Queta was always too far from the basket when he started his drive and had to dribble too many times. More dribbles mean more chances for a quicker guard to steal the ball. When he collected an offensive rebound, he didn’t use his body enough to dislodge defenders. It was more finesse than “bully ball”.
The one time I saw him post up, the defender pushed Queta further away from the basket than he should have been. Queta caught the ball and backed the defender down and then shot an airball with his left hand. Terrible, but he won’t develop it if he never has to use it.
On defense, he goes for blocks every time, and since he isn’t a quick jumper, he doesn’t recover fast enough to collect the rebound.
Queta is still young. He turns 23 later this month. He is still very raw, but he has flashed a ton of potential.
What Queta could stand to improve
Queta looks big and strong but doesn’t use his body or strength very well. He needs to learn to get to his spot and pin his defender on his back. He must also use his strength to remain stationary and not let the defender supplant him. He is too big to get pushed away from the basket.
He also needs to work on his post game. He needs a drop-step, a spin toward the middle, and a hook shot. It would help if he had the offense run through him every now and then either at the elbow or at the high block. This would also give him opportunities to develop his passing.
Queta saw a back-cut in the game against the Lakers and made a good pass, but the timing was off, resulting in a turnover.
He has a long way to go, but he needs to keep working, maybe even putting in time with Domantas Sabonis or his dad.
If he can develop an all-around game to go with his physical tools, he could become one of the Kings’ building blocks in a couple of years.