At the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, the Sacramento Kings’ two recent draft picks — both of whom at least kind of have connections to the state of Utah — are standing out in a pretty significant way.
Ninth overall pick Davion Mitchell, whom many have compared to Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell for a number of reasons, has been an absolute hound defensively and very good on offense, while 39th pick Neemias Queta out of Utah State has had a couple of highlight-worthy plays and been very solid on both ends of the floor.
Through two games in Vegas, Mitchell is averaging 11 points and 6.5 assists, and Queta is averaging 7.5 points, six rebounds and a block per contest as the Kings are 2-0 (the Kings also played in a smaller summer league in Sacramento last week before the larger one in Vegas).
So…Davion Mitchell had 10pts,9assists ,ZERO turnovers in @SacramentoKings win🔥Do you realize how difficult it is to have ZERO turnovers in a Summer League game where cats throw it all over the gym ?— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) August 10, 2021
And Mitchell put Bouknight on Rikers for 40 minutes💯 pic.twitter.com/jVWx1ARYjM
Mitchell and Queta even teamed up for one great play on Tuesday night against the Charlotte Hornets.
In a story about Queta by NBC Sports’ James Ham, Kings summer league coach (and former Kings guard) Bobby Jackson is quoted as saying, “He’s been tremendous. We’re asking him to protect the paint, rebound, block shots and be the anchor on the defensive end.”
Queta has already signed a two-way contract with Sacramento, meaning he’ll split time next season between there and the team’s G League affiliate in Stockton, about 50 miles away.
Jackson is Stockton’s coach and said in Ham’s story that what Queta has shown in summer league is “what I’m going to ask him to do this year in the G League.”
Of that role as defensive anchor, Queta said, “I feel like it’s just natural. I’ve been (vocal) for quite a while on pretty much every team I’ve been a part of. I’ve been one of the most vocal guys. As a defensive anchor, I’ve got to make sure I’m in the right spot. I’ve got to make sure I tell people where to be when I see something.”
Beside Queta, two others who played college ball in Utah are on summer league rosters in Las Vegas. Former BYU star Yoeli Childs is with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Sam Merrill, Queta’s former teammate at Utah State, is with the Memphis Grizzlies after getting traded by the Milwaukee Bucks last week.
Childs scored six points, pulled down six rebounds and added an assist in 15 minutes on Sunday in a one-point win over the Phoenix Suns (the Lakers’ only game in Vegas so far prior to Wednesday night), while Merrill did not play in the Grizzlies’ first game Monday against the Brooklyn Nets (the Grizzlies also play again Wednesday).