News broke earlier this week that Boston Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis will miss a week’s worth of games with a calf injury. Though there is no timetable for his return, the Latvian star says he will “be back very soon.” In the meantime, the Celtics must work around Porzingis’ injury with an already thin frontcourt. One possible solution? Add Neemias Queta to the mix.
The Celtics signed Queta to a two-way contract in the offseason after the Sacramento Kings cut him. Queta missed the first 12 games of this season with a foot injury. However, in Porzingis’ absence, Queta saw significant playing time in Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks. The Portuguese native recorded seven points and 10 rebounds in 15 minutes. Perhaps the most impressive stat of the night was Queta’s game-high six offensive rebounds.
It would be an overreaction to say Queta should be the starting center until Porzingis returns. However, the former Kings big man deserves a spot in the rotation, even after Porzingis makes his way back.
Neemias Queta Belongs in the Celtics’ Rotation
What Does He Add to the Celtics?
Queta is more of a standard, “glass cleaner” type of big man. With his seven-foot frame and impressive athleticism, he aims to own the paint on both sides of the ball. As it is, Queta is the only player currently on the Celtics with this playstyle. He’s not nearly as polished yet, but Queta has the tools to replicate what Robert Williams added to the Celtics for five years. Al Horford is more of a perimeter big man at this point of his career, whereas Luke Kornet is not nearly athletic enough to be a bully in the paint. Queta’s ability to easily grab rebounds can prove valuable to the Celtics, especially if he can further develop his defense.
The biggest weakness of Queta’s game is his offense. He can score underneath the rim but has virtually no scoring range beyond that. This isn’t news to the Celtics, however. Plus, for a team as loaded as they are, it should be easy for the Celtics to work around Queta’s offensive shortcomings.
Neemias Queta talks about his impact of Boston's bench tonight🔋
— Celtics on CLNS (@CelticsCLNS) November 27, 2023
The Last Word on Neemias Queta
It has been a long time since the Celtics had a healthy big man with a similar playstyle to Queta. Before “Time Lord,” the last big man of his nature Boston had was probably Kendrick Perkins (who hasn’t been on the Celtics since 2011). Unless you want to count Jared Sullinger or even Amir Johnson (you probably shouldn’t). This makes it easy for Celtics fans to root for Queta in games and hope he develops into a regular contributor.
At 24 years old, Queta still has time to reach his full potential. However, it’s clear the tools are all there. He will take this opportunity to showcase his talents and prove he should become a mainstay in the Celtics’ rotation. What will come of Queta’s immediate expanded role? We will just have to wait and see.