San Antonio Spurs Draft Prospect #3: Neemias Queta (Utah State)
While players like Greg Brown and Ibou Badji would definitely be a bit of a gamble to spend a pick on, Neemias Queta would be a very safe option for the Spurs in the second round if he’s still available. This defensive-minded big man out of Utah State would make a great complementary piece to Jakob Poeltl coming off the bench and still may have some untapped potential.
The 21-year-old is now coming off his third (and best) season with the Aggies. In those three seasons, he won Mountain West Conference Rookie of the Year, 3x All-MWC, and 2x MWC Defensive Player of the Year. He stuffed the stat sheets this past season, recording 14.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 2.7 assists, and just over one steal per game. There isn’t much to dislike about Queta’s game.
In Spurs terms, think about a traditional center that is an instinctual shot-blocker like Jakob Poeltl with the verticality of Drew Eubanks, and you more or less have Neemias Queta. He was without a doubt the best player on the Utah State roster this past season and led them to a second-place finish in the Mountain West Conference.
While Queta’s ceiling will mostly hinge on whether or not he can develop some kind of a jump shot, his high floor is what should attract attention to him, especially if he falls to the second round. He will be a big help to the Spurs bench unit that is in desperate need of a quality rebounder and defensive anchor in the paint.
Even though Drew Eubanks has stepped up in a big way taking on this role, Queta’s playmaking upside is what differentiates him from both Eubanks and Poeltl. During his time with the Utah State Aggies, Queta statistically improved his playmaking every year, making some high-level cross-court passes, passes off the short roll, bounce passes in the paint, and passes off the double team.
Queta, along with the next two picks on this list, would all more than likely at least be considered late first-round picks in a normal draft. This year, however, there is a good chance that one if not a few of them could fall into the second round. If the Spurs do manage to pick up Neemias Queta in the second round, he would be an automatic steal based on his floor and NBA-readiness alone.
Next: Player #2