Why are NBA teams very interested in Kai Sotto?

Kai Sotto surprised the basketball world with his recent announcement. After a pretty good run with the Australian team, Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League (NBL), Kai announced that he will be joining the upcoming NBA draft on June 23, 2022. As talented and skilled as Sotto is now, he is nowhere near yet the level of some former 5-star recruits that are also joining the draft like Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero.

No disrespect to Kai, but he is only ranked 84th out of the top 100 draft prospects this year. Still, it’s very impressive for a non-American to be ranked that high. Despite all of that, Kai Sotto is still being sought out by 12 teams (almost half in the league) which leads us to the question, why is the NBA is interested in Kai Sotto?


Kai’s style of play is very serviceable in today’s league

  • Some 10 or 20 years ago, guys like Kai Sotto would be a rare commodity in the NBA. It was a league that was commanded by traditional bigs who like to muscle their way through the lane. Meanwhile, centers who shoot outside the three-point line weren’t always common, except for Dirk Nowitzki.
  • Now, a new breed of frontcourt players is already rampant in the league. Guys who do not shy away from shooting the ball from 30 feet from the basket now have great ball-handling skills.
  • Philippines’ Kai Sotto is definitely one of the new breeds of big men. Heck, he’s not even far from the projected first pick, Chet Holmgren, when it comes to the way they play.

Based on analytics, frontcourt players who can knock down shots from beyond the arc are huge threats in a half-court offense. They create spacing on the floor like we’ve never seen before and they even sometimes command the pace of the game. Players such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kevin Durant perfectly resemble this type of player.

Related: Kai Sotto Meets with NBA Teams Prior to Rookie Draft 2022

Kai Sotto generates a lot of views and revenue

As we all know, Kai Sotto is a pure-blooded Filipino. If luck finds him, he could be very well the first pure Filipino in the NBA. The Filipinos love the sport of basketball so much that you can find basketball courts in every corner of the country.

Kai Sotto in G League Ignite
Photo Courtesy of Sporting News

Since Kai Sotto joined the Adelaide 36ers, the team, as well as the NBL’s revenue, increased rapidly. Do you want proof? Listed below are lowkey the reasons why the NBL boomed during Kai’s stint with the 36ers:

  • Kai Sotto’s Adelaide 36ers uniform is the best-selling 36ers jersey. In February 2022, his jersey was already the 4th top seller in the NBL. To put into perspective, a Kai Sotto 36ers jersey costs around 100 AUD (Australian dollars) or 3,700 PHP (Philippine Peso)
  • Sotto was named the 2022 NBL Fans MVP in his rookie year in NBL because of his popularity
  • Before Kai joined the NBL, most Filipinos hadn’t heard of nor watched a single game in the Australian league. Well, with Kai Sotto joining the 36ers, their views quickly rose (on social media, YouTube, and others)
Related: Gonzaga Freshman and Projected 1st Pick Chet Holmgren Declares for 2022 NBA Draft

With all the evidence at hand, it would be clear why NBA teams are eyeing Sotto. Do they need his talent? Probably. But, do they want the publicity? Absolutely.

Will we ever see Kai Sotto in the NBA? 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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