The NBA is a dream for all hoopers from all parts of the world. This year, we saw a handful of talented young guys get selected for the league. Big names like Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Jaden Ivey, Jabari Smith, and Keegan Murray were the first top-five picks in the draft but Kai Sotto, the Filipino phenom, unfortunately, was not selected. Although this isn’t the end of the road for Kai, what could be next for him after getting undrafted?
In our previous article, we talked about Kai getting picked late in the first round. It was a hot take but it was straight-up “not that impossible”. He was ranked pretty high in the draft prospects, so it would be safe to assume he would be picked in this year’s draft. Although there were already rumors from top scouts and talent agents in the NBA that Sotto will be “undrafted”, fans were rooting for him nonetheless. We’d also like to think him going undrafted was inevitable because, for one, he was not invited to the draft combine; and second, he was going under the radar of most scouts because of his lack of exposure.
What’s Next for Kai Sotto?
NBA Summer League
Kai Sotto’s agent, Joel Bell, told the media that Kai “will not take part” in the 2022-2023 Summer League. He also said that Kai would rather play for his country’s national team, Gilas Pilipinas. This is to prepare for the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
“I’ve already got several Summer league invites for him. But Kai has decided to play for the Filipino national team,”
However, in an update by Sotto, he immediately clarified that it is still undecided and “there has no decision made” yet as his agent previously misspoke.
In the Summer League, Kai Sotto can still show up and showcase his skills and talent alongside some of the best rising stars in the league. There, he may or may not be given playing time, but he will get his much-needed exposure. It could also help that he had the previous workout with teams like the Kings, Hawks, Cavaliers, Knicks, Magic, and the Pacers. Do you think he should sign up for the Summer League?
The 21-year-old big man still has a year left in his contract with the Adelaide 36ers. If he decides to return to the NBL, he can exercise his two-year deal as well as his third-year option. In there, he averaged a decent 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds a night while only playing 17 minutes a night.
By playing in the NBL, he can develop into a much more complete player and become even more prepared than he was before.
Aside from the Summer League and returning to the NBL, he also has the option to play in the G-League. He only had a short stint with the G-League Ignite team after being restricted due to Covid-19 rules and international obligations.
With Kai Sotto going undrafted, the G-League could also be a possible road for his redemption. We’ve seen a lot of talented guys in the G-League get called up to play for a team in the NBA. Heck, they even become All-Stars (i.e. Fred VanVleet).
Gilas Pilipinas (Philippines’ National Team)
Kai Sotto has been a pivotal member of the Gilas Pilipinas through the years. Although he has been on and off with the roster, he’s a much-needed piece for the team to be able to compete internationally.
In there, he will shine, like he always does in FIBA. With the upcoming third window for the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers as well as the FIBA Asia Cup 2022, Kai could prove he’s already NBA material.
Although playing in Europe is out of the equation for Kai, it is not entirely peculiar for an Asian to play in the Euro League. Most Filipino stars nowadays prefer to play outside the country (e.g. Japan and Taiwan) to improve their level of play. With Kai’s abilities, he will perfectly fit in with the European system as he did with the NBL.
What do you think Kai should do next? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.
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