The two-way sophomore reflects on his first season between the G League and the NBA.
Cruising through the offseason, Sacramento Kings’ two-way sophomore Neemias Queta joined Deuce Mason and Morgan Ragan on the “Deuce & Mo” podcast on Monday afternoon, catching the Kingdom up on what he learned from his rookie year and what the future holds for the two-way player out of Sacramento.
“I think I’ll be making big strides this year,” Queta told Mason and Ragan.
The former No. 39 pick in the 2021 draft averaged 16.4 points and 7.9 rebounds through 14 games played with the Stockton Kings, resulting in an up-and-down year of scattered minutes in his development.
Queta made history in December, becoming the first Portuguese-born player to log minutes in the NBA, and when asked if the rockstar-style adoration from his home country was warranted, the big man smiled and agreed:
“Honestly, like, that’s how I thought it was going to be. Cause that’s how Portuguese people rock with each other. We just express love abundantly, it’s been really good for me.”
The former Utah State Aggie also shared that going between the G League and the NBA was tumultuous, but resulted in a unique rookie experience garnering learnings from varying entities:
“It’s a grind, you don’t really know what to expect. You have an idea of what you want… but until you’re there it’s totally different… You don’t realize how much work you have to actually put in: being in the job, having commitments… It takes time to adjust. Now I’m just more comfortable in it.”
Queta also shared that the largest difference between his time in Stockton and Sacramento was the actual style of play on the court:
“Sharpness. In the G League, it’s more of an up-and-down game. There’s more errors made, I would say the game is faster and originates more mistakes. In the NBA, everyone is getting to their spots faster. Everyone is more detailed.”
In Sacramento, getting reps in practice was where Queta found his bread and butter. Taking things away from the huddle and soaking in real NBA moments were often his only opportunities to learn as he received several DNP-CDs throughout his time with the parent team.
“You’re never wrong doing extra work. You’ve got a limited time to get better, playing in the league and playing basketball. Take advantage of that window.”
Queta is currently training in Santa Barbara, as the regular season doesn’t begin until the fall. It’s likely that we’ll see the center participate in Summer League as another extended audition for him to carve out a role for himself in the association — whether such an opportunity comes on the Kings roster or not.