Thoughts on Neemias Queta

April 29, 2019

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Utah State’s 6-11 freshman center Neemias Queta from Portugal play in a regular season game against Nevada that took place on January 2nd, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via Sports Arena. Queta recently declared to enter the draft, and he is an athletic, mobile big man that could project into a rim protector role in the NBA.  I wanted to see this match to gauge his skill set and upside as a prospect, and here are my thoughts about where he stands right now, as well as how he may project in the future.

Neemias Queta is a tall, athletic defensive-minded center that possesses good defensive skills, and his shot blocking presence and defense could likely be his calling card in the NBA.  He is a gifted shot blocker that can swat many shots around the basket, and he will make solid rotations to do so.  He is an agile, fleet-footed big man that can use his length, quickness, and timing to swat shots, and he also has long arms, which allowed him to deflect a pass off of an opponent out of bounds to force a turnover early in this game.  Queta has adequate feet to guard players out on the perimeter, and he was able to help trap an opposing ball handler on the sideline to indirectly force a passing turnover.  Plus, he will put himself in position to contest shots to force misses in the paint.

However, he may not always run hard back on defense, and he may not always be in position to contest shots in transition, which can lead teams to score on fast breaks.  He also can be over-aggressive in contesting shots, which can lead him to commit fouls.  Other times, he may have some lapses, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores every once in a while.

He’s also a good rebounder.  Queta has good size, mobility, and ball location skills, and he would often leap up to get defensive rebounds.  He has good fundamentals when going for boards, and he would box out to get rebounds, and he also would tip balls to his teammates to help his team get extra boards.  But sometimes he would not be able to secure balls, as sometimes balls would go off his hands, which would cause him to miss out on additional rebounds.

Offensively, Queta has some skills, but he may not be quite as polished as he is on the defensive end right now.  Queta’s strengths on offense lies in his ability to move off the ball and score on hustle plays, as well as to get scores around the basket.  He was able to score on a strong put back in traffic, and he also can draw fouls after getting balls on rolls to the rim.  He also was able to catch a drop off pass after being left open around the basket, as Queta managed to score on a dunk.  But sometimes he may make his moves too slowly, which can lead him to get his shots blocked.

He also showed some ability to score off the dribble as well as in the post.  Queta was able to use a quick overhead ball fake to score off of a drive using his right hand, and he can take bigger players off the dribble to score around the basket.  He also was able to catch an entry pass before going up to quickly score in the post another time.  However, Queta’s footwork can be shaky when posting up, and he doesn’t seem to have many moves in his repertoire, as his lack of fluidity and at times struggles to maneuver around defenders would lead to some awkward misses.

He also will still need to improve his playmaking ability.  Queta didn’t seem to make many notable passes, but he can make some basic passes, as he can swing a ball to an open shooter, and he also can pass out of the post to find the open man.  He will set screens and roll to the rim, although he didn’t always roll hard to the basket on offense.  Queta did commit a couple of turnovers though, and both of them came when he was in the post.  He was called for a clear-out with his arm after catching the ball down low early on, as he had some trouble sealing his man on the block.  Another time, he tried to catch an entry pass, but he bobbled the ball, and he had the ball poked off of him before it went out of bounds.  Queta is an athletic big man, but he showed some questionable hands in this game, and he will need to do a better job of consistently catching balls to be able to get more scoring opportunities and rebounds when he is on the court.

In general, Neemias Queta is an interesting prospect, as he is an agile center whose interior presence and tremendous shot blocking ability could allow him to thrive as a rim protector in the NBA.  He will need to continue to expand upon his skill set on offense, but his ability to rebound, block shots, and defend could make him a solid second round pick in this year’s draft.