Photo Courtesy of Rappler

With just a few hours before the 2022 NBA Draft, Filipino NBA fans are already eager to see Kai Sotto hit the big leagues. Today, we are about to shake everybody’s trees by calling it –  KAI SOTTO WILL BE PICKED LATE IN THE FIRST ROUND.

Yes, you’ve read that right. You might think we’re crazy or we are out of our mind. Some of you could say this is cap and our hot take is just for show. But, we will let you look at our perspective and show you why Kai will be a late 1st round draftee. By then, maybe you could agree just a little bit.


Kai Sotto NBA Draft Workouts

Screengrab Courtesy of W-Hoops Play W (via YouTube)

Prior to the draft, there have been numerous teams Kai Sotto had workouts with such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, and the most recent one, the Indiana Pacers.

Aside from these teams, there is also growing interest in Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the San Antonio Spurs. Now, if we look thoroughly at these teams, only a handful of them needs a big man with qualities like Kai Sotto, and those are:

  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • New York Knicks
Related: Teams That Could Pick Kai Sotto

NBA 1st Round Draft Picks (in order)

  1. Orlando Magic
  2. OKC Thunder
  3. Houston Rockets
  4. Sacramento Kings
  5. Detroit Pistons
  6. Indiana Pacers
  7. Portland Trail Blazers
  8. New Orleans Pelicans
  9. San Antonio Spurs
  10. Washington Wizards
  11. New York Knicks
  12. OKC Thunder
  13. Charlotte Hornets
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers
  15. Charlotte Hornets
  16. Atlanta Hawks
  17. Houston Rockets
  18. Chicago Bulls
  19. Minnesota Timberwolves
  20. San Antonio Spurs
  21. Denver Nuggets
  22. Memphis Grizzlies
  23. Philadelphia 76ers
  24. Milwaukee Bucks
  25. San Antonio Spurs
  26. Dallas Mavericks
  27. Miami Heat
  28. Golden State Warriors
  29. Memphis Grizzlies
  30. OKC Thunder

Among the teams that will be picking in the 1st round, the most notable clubs that have shown interest in Kai are the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. Looking above, the Spurs has three first-round picks (9, 20, and 25) while the Thunder also has three (3, 12, and 30). It also helps that both the Spurs and the Thunder are rebuilding and are both in need of a reliable force in the paint. Subsequently, San Antonio and Oklahoma could be a perfect fit to develop Kai’s talents.


Supply, Demand, and Marketing

To support our opinion, here is a list of all the top draft prospects in the Center position.

  • Chet Holmgren (projected top 3 pick) – Center, 7’0”
  • Jalen Duren (projected lottery pick/top 10) – Center, 6’11”
  • Mark Williams (top 20) – Center, 7’2”
  • Walker Kessler (consensus top 100) – Center, 7’1”
  • Orlando Robinson – Center, 6’11”
  • Yannick Nzosa (a Congolese prospect) – Center, 6’11”

Nzosa worked out with Kai Sotto in Sacramento where Sotto proved to be a much superior athlete (no BS, watch the videos).

  • Trevion Williams – Center, 6’9”
  • Ismael Kamagate – Center, 6’11”

In every mock draft, all of them are ranked higher than Kai. Before committing to the draft, Sotto wasn’t even in the top 100 prospects. Then, soon after his name came up as one of the draftees, Kai’s draft stock immediately rose to top 81. Surprisingly, that did not end there. He quickly jumped to the top 50 and just last May, Kai was ranked 49th by Sports Illustrated in the 2022 NBA mock draft. Judging by that trend, we can see how great Sotto’s influence and impact are.

Another thing is, that everybody doubted he would even make the G-League. Well, jokes on them since Kai almost played for the G-League Ignite if only there were no restrictions during the height of the pandemic. Lastly, although most scouts have huge praises for Kai, he was still predicted to go “undrafted”.

But, with a sudden change of tides, most predictions of him are getting picked late in the 2nd round. If you still don’t see where we are going with this, you need to watch some basketball!


The NBA draft will take place on June 23 (8 PM E.T) in Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York. Do you agree with our take? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.

OTHER NEWS: Kai Sotto V.S. Chet Holmgren, Player Comparison

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