Photo Courtesy of airalamo.com

With the 58th pick in the 2022 NBA draft, Indiana Pacers select … Hugo Besson from New Zealand. Well, that was not what Filipino basketball fans were hoping to hear. Sadly, Kai Sotto’s pursuit as the first homegrown Filipino talent in the NBA will be put on hold after going undrafted in this year’s draft. Although Kai still has a chance at an NBA team roster, let’s discuss the reasons why Kai wasn’t picked up in the recent draft.

Leading up to the draft night, Kai Sotto has been the talk of the town. He has been turning heads and has been gathering a lot of attention lately. He was already being projected as a 2nd round pick-up and even had predictions about him going late in the 1st round. Unfortunately, neither of these cases panned out. Here are the possible reasons why it didn’t happen:

Kai Sotto’s Body Is Not Yet NBA Ready

Kai Sotto is a 7-foot-3 center that has a wingspan of 7 feet and 5 inches. He is the tallest player to commit in the 2022 NBA draft. To add, Kai prides himself in shot-blocking and superb outside shooting. But, after working out with an unnamed NBA team, there are rumors that a scout told a reporter about Kai’s unpreparedness for the league.

They said that Kai’s body does not correspond to the NBA game as of now. In an undisclosed statement by the unnamed team’s scout, they noticed that Kai has issues with his lateral movement, specifically being slow with his “first step”. This trait is an essential part of being able to attack the rim and penetrate through tough defense without having any trouble.

Despite that, Kai Sotto has shown everyone that he can get buckets. If he is just given enough playing time or touches on the ball, Sotto can most definitely score. To support that statement, he averaged almost 8 points per game in the NBL while only playing 17 minutes a night. He can also shoot the lights out from behind the arc and has great post-moves.

On the positive side, he has been getting a lot of comparisons with the 2nd overall pick, Chet Holmgren whom he shares a very similar skillset. A 7-footer who has a great jumper and moves like a guard.

Related: NBA Draft 2022: Kai Sotto Will Be A Late 1st Round Pick
Photo Courtesy of Sporting News

Sotto Not Getting Invited to the Draft Combine

Even though Kai Sotto had workouts with various NBA squads like the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers, the 20-year-old big man was not given the green light to showcase his physical attributes in the draft combine. Before the draft, Kai has been meeting with a lot of teams in the league. Teams that most people thought were very interested in the young center. But, all of that was not enough to push him further and increase his draft stock.

Due to that, it became inevitable that Kai Sotto would get undrafted despite the hype and the huge fanbase behind him.

Related: Why Are NBA Teams Very Interested in Kai Sotto

The Race Card

This will be a hard pill to swallow and we will have to take this with a grain of salt. People might hate this and as much as we do not want to think of it this way, Kai’s ethnicity (being an Asian, a Filipino) probably made him finish last in the priority lane.

Although Filipinos are known as avid basketball fans and can be a huge boost for any team that drafts Sotto, no team has ever taken a chance at a Filipino before. Here is a list of guys who tried their luck in the G-League or D-League but did not work out:

  • Kobe Paras (Played college ball in the US ) – went undrafted in the 2017 NBA draft
  • Japeth Aguilar (D- League, Santa Cruz Warriors) – went undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft
  • Bobby Ray Parks Jr. (D-League, Texas Legends ) – went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft
  • Kiefer Ravena (developmental player for Texas Legends)

Do you think Kai Sotto should play in the Summer League? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.

OTHER NEWS: NBA Update: What’s Next For Kai Sotto?

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