Making good on a promise to get better defensively, the Sacramento Kings brought in some defensive specialists when they drafted point guard Davion Mitchell from Baylor and Utah State’s center Neemias Queta in the 2021 NBA Draft on July 29.
Mitchell, who just won the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball title with the Bears, was selected No. 9 overall while Portuguese player Queta was picked No. 39 in the second round.
Kings General Manager Monty McNair has made it clear going into his second campaign with the organization that defense is a top priority and finding players with that mindset is necessary.
He got a pretty decent defensive player in the 2020 draft with Tyrese Haliburton out of Iowa State and perhaps another in Mitchell and Queta in this year’s draft.
“We were thrilled to have Davion available at No. 9 and Neemias at 39,” McNair said. “They both represent what we’re trying to build here, which is bringing in competitors, players with toughness, skill, I.Q. great personal character. These guys represent the type of players we want to bring into Sacramento and get us back to the playoffs.”
At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Mitchell was a three-time National Defensive Player of the Year for the Baylor Bears that won the 2021 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball title. The point guard also scored or dished out an assist on 37% of the Bears’ points in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Mitchell said he wants to be the “dog on the floor” on defense along with guarding the toughest competitor for Sacramento.
“That’s kind of been my calling card. I just love to win and I really just do what it takes to win and that’s defense. Defense wins championships,” Mitchell told The OBSERVER. “So, bringing that to the Kings would certainly help their organization because I can be a dog on the floor on offense and defense.”
Queta, from Barreio, Portugal, was selected with the 39th pick in the second round. He averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game.
“I guess I’m happy that he was playing at Utah State. He may have stayed under the radar for us,” McNair said of the Portuguese player. “I don’t understand how a seven-footer who blocks 100 shots in a year stays under the radar. But what’s intriguing about him and still underrated is his offensive package, I.Q., passing, ability to show touch from outside, and ability to score inside. Obviously, his size will help on the glass.”
Both players are expected to play in the California Classic, which starts Aug. 3. The Kings will be joined by the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers. All games will be played at Golden 1 Center.