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Kai Sotto 2022 NBA Draft Profile

Kai Sotto hopes to be the next big name to come to the NBA from the Australian National Basketball League. Sotto’s stock is volatile: he landed at the end of the first round in some trial drafts, while other pundits removed him from the draft altogether. Will Sotto join such Lamelo Ball as well as Josh Giddy how is the next NBL lottery pick?

Kai Sotto 2022 NBA Draft Profile

Amateur and professional career

Born in Las Pinas, Philippines in 2002, Sotto started playing basketball at the age of four. He represented the Philippines at the 2018 FIBA ​​Asian Under-16 Championship where he averaged a double-double and was named to the first team of the tournament. Later that year, Sotto averaged 16.4 points and 10.6 rebounds to lead his country to the best record ever in the FIBA ​​Under-18 World Championship. Sotto again played for the Philippines at the FIBA ​​Under-19 World Championship, where he averaged 11.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and a tournament-high 3.1 blocks per game.

In 2019, Sotto moved to the US to pursue his basketball career. The four-star rookie will attend The Skill Factory in Atlanta, Georgia, receiving offers from several Division I programs before joining NBA G League Ignite. Planning and logistical issues caused by the pandemic will eventually derail the Sotto Ignite experience. The choice to play for the Philippines in the 2021 FIBA ​​Asia Cup Qualifiers meant he would miss several games for Ignite. This ultimately led to Sotto signing with the Adelaide 36ers of the NBL in April 2021.

Sotto played in 23 games for the 36ers, averaging 15.3 minutes per contest. He scored 7.5 points, grabbed 4.5 rebounds and blocked 0.08 shots per game in his time. He was named the NBL Fans’ Most Valuable Player for the 2022 season.

Strengths

At 7ft 2in, it’s no surprise that rebounding is highly ranked on Sotto’s skill list. On offense, in particular, he has demonstrated the ability to find a place to hit and an excellent ability to hit. He has some range, shoots well from medium range and hits 38% of his three-point attempts for the 36ers. However, he has only made 13 shots from the depths of Australia and will need to be more consistent in this aspect.

However, the form is there and I expect Sotto to shoot well in the league. He has a good mid-range face up shot that passes the eye test and shoots almost 70% from the foul line. However, Sotto showed that he knows how to drive under the ring. It has a decent handle and a nice touch to the basket. In terms of defense, Sotto’s blocking makes him intriguing.

Weak sides

Sotto is not the most athletic big man in this year’s draft. While he can be a good shot blocker, we’ll have to see if he has enough lateral speed to stay ahead of the NBA’s elite frontcourt players. He has shown promise as an off-the-post passer, but Sotto needs to improve his ability to make decisions with the ball. Sotto was mainly used as a pick and roll threat. He has the mid-range play to be a double threat in this role, but time will tell if that will be the case. After the game, Sotto needs work. He has a few moves, but was below average in points for possession after playing among his peers in the NBL.

Comparison of NBA players

The best comparison for Sotto is Kristaps Porzingis. This is no coincidence, as Sotto grew up idolizing the Wizards big man. They both have a soft throw and the ability to block shots with their extremely lanky builds. Sotto is raw, but there is huge potential here, especially in attack. Sotto also idolized Tim Duncan, and while I don’t want to compare him to him in that regard, it should be noted that being able to play off the post is a Sotto skill that only scratches the surface of his potential.

2022 NBA draft prediction

Good luck with that. Some argue that Sotto is the next promising unicorn project. Candidate to “steal this draft” if taken anywhere outside the lottery. For other scouts and analysts, he is not in the top 60. Let’s stop somewhere in the middle. Sotto should be drafted on Thursday due to his frontcourt and media potential. Sotto is on track to become the first NBA player to be born in the Philippines. His desire to represent his country on the international stage and the potential support of the whole country should encourage the team to take him towards the end of the second round, but don’t be surprised if he disappears from the board a little earlier.

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