MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto has piqued the interest of NBA teams and at least one has committed to pick up the Filipino star if he stays available in the upcoming draft, his agent Joel Bell said.
Sotto is reportedly scheduled for a dozen of workouts with NBA teams after failing to get an invite for the Draft Combine, where top prospects like Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith showcased their wares.
“I am strongly convinced, I believe that when he visits NBA teams in person, they’re going to be dazzled,” said Bell in an interview organized by NBA Philippines.
Based on his Instagram, the 7-foot-3 big man has already worked out with two NBA teams, the latest with the Orlando Magic.
The Magic hold the rights for the No. 1 overall pick and will also select at No. 32 and 35 in the second round.
“We have so many teams who want to bring him in for individual workouts and we actually have a commitment from at least one team that said if he stays in the draft, [they’ll] draft him,” Bell said.
For Bell, what separates Sotto from other Asian big men who have made it to the NBA like Zhou Qi and Wang Zhizhi of China is his basketball IQ.
“What the average person does not realize about Kai is he is an unbelievable passer,” Bell said.
“You can run your offense through Kai and that is not something you can say about a lot of frontcourt players in professional basketball. He has got an unbelievable basketball IQ.”
The 20-year-old decided to join the draft after completing his first season in the National Basketball League in Australia, where he averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 15 minutes per game for the Adelaide 36ers.
He is currently ranked No. 49 by Sports Illustrated in its mock draft, although other mainstream sports outlets in the United States do not see Sotto among the 58 players who will hear their names called on draft night.
But Bell begs to differ.
“Diamonds are really expensive because they’e rare. So is Kai. He is going to be a value commodity, he is a valued guy,” Bell said.
Sotto has until June 13 to withdraw from the draft, which will take place in New York on June 23.
“Whether he remains in the draft or does not this year, that is going to be up to Kai and anyone he relies on for advice,” Bell said. – Rappler.com