While there’s a chance the Indiana Pacers are competitive next season, they are still young enough that they could be taking a chance on some prospects heading into next season.
Tyrese Haliburton is only 23 years old, Benedict Mathurin is 21, Jarace Walker is 20, and there are plenty of other young guys on the roster, too. They have the talent, but they’re still a couple of years away from making real noise in the Eastern Conference.
And luckily for them, the Sacramento Kings just cut loose a prospect who could be of interest to the Pacers, as they released Neemias Queta after signing veteran center JaVale McGee.
Sacramento Kings cut Neemias Queta, an ideal Indiana Pacers prospect who Tyrese Haliburton once called ‘a fan favorite’
Queta is 24 years old and has two years of NBA experience in Sacramento, including playing the first half of the 2021-22 season alongside Haliburton with the Kings. Haliburton even once called the big man “a fan favorite” after a big game in January of 2022.
While he was unable to carve out a consistent role in the Kings’ rotation, Queta played very well in the G League for the Stockton Kings last year.
The seven-foot big man played in and started 29 games last season in the G League, averaging 27.6 minutes per contest. He averaged 16.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 68.5% from the field.
The big man’s play in the G League didn’t go unnoticed by Kings fans, either. He never earned real playing time at the NBA level, but Tony Xypteras of The Kings Herald spoke highly of his skillset.
"“Neemy is a very large man that moves surprisingly well,” Xypteras wrote. “He can defend the paint better than anyone on the roster right now, so long as he isn’t getting into foul trouble. He can rebound. His skill as a passer is high enough that Mike Brown could probably get away with running some of the same sets he’s already running through Domantas Sabonis.”"
Xypteras also noted that Queta would benefit from getting more minutes on a rebuilding team, as he needs the reps if he’s ever going to improve. The Pacers could be that team.
As things stand, the Pacers have a fairly solid center rotation with Myles Turner, Isaiah Jackson, and Daniel Theis all under contract. However, they still have room to develop more talent at that position.
Theis had a great FIBA World Cup run, but his time with the Pacers will probably come to an end sooner rather than later. And Jackson has shown flashes of real potential, but adding another big to challenge him for minutes could be great for all parties involved.
Indiana has all three two-way spots filled, but Queta is eligible for a two-way deal, so there are multiple pathways for them to add him to the roster.
If the Pacers wanted to bring Queta in, they would have to cut somebody, but with the potential he’s shown during his time in the G League, it might be worth it.
It wouldn’t be a right-away occurrence, but pairing Queta’s interior presence and size with the skill of Indiana’s guard room could be an intriguing idea, especially if he could challenge Jackson for backup minutes behind Turner.