Is Utah State C Neemias Queta A First Round Pick?
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Last month, Neemias Queta declared himself eligible for the NBA draft. The Utah State center will bypass his senior season in hopes of making it onto an NBA roster on the July 29 draft.
After opting to return to college after his breakout freshman year, Queta had a down season as a sophomore before bursting back onto the scene as a junior and establishing himself as a legitimate NBA prospect.
On the latest episode of the Jazz Notes podcast, Ben Anderson talked to Yahoo Sports draft analyst Krysten Peek about Queta and where she has him slotted in her latest mock draft. You can listen to the full podcast in the player below, or subscribe and listen in the link at the bottom of the page.
Will Queta Hear His Name In The First Round Of The Draft?
Queta declared for the draft after averaging 14.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks which ranked third among all college players.
The center also led the NCAA in defensive win shares, and defensive plus-minus during his junior year. In her latest mock draft, Peek projects Queta as a late first-round draft choice, getting selected by the Houston Rockets with the 26th pick.
“Queta led the nation in blocked shots with 97 for the season and had the highest defensive box plus/minus in the country at 6.9,” Peek wrote for Yahoo Sports. “He has a larger frame than Evan Mobley and can provide a much-needed defensive presence in the lane for a Houston Rockets team that looking to rebuild after the James Harden era.”
With three years of college under his belt and an NBA-ready frame at 7’0 and 245 lbs, Queta could be a smart option for a team looking for immediate help defensively.
Though Peek has Queta slated late in the first round, she told the Jazz Notes podcast she could see him climb up NBA boards ahead of the draft.
“I honestly think that his draft stock is going to rise even more once he gets to the combine,” Peek said. “Then scouts can see him in person and just how big he is and how well he moves for his size.”
The Utah Jazz own the 30th pick in the draft and could be an option for Queta if he begins to slip out of the first round. However, Peek sees the Jazz looking for additional backcourt help on July’s draft by selecting Auburn’s Sharife Cooper.
Regardless of the direction the Jazz go, Peek said fans should be excited about the number of talented prospects who could be on the board when they’re picking at 30.
“This is my favorite draft class since I’ve been doing it, I think it’s the deepest draft class in terms of talent.”