Each year, the basketball community sees a new class of prospects preparing to take the next step within their respective playing careers. Typically the next step consists of advancing to the collegiate ranks, but guys like Isaiah Todd, Jalen Green, and now Kai Sotto are foregoing their amateur eligibility to play in the NBA G-League. The Filipino star became the first international prospect to sign a G-League pro program deal and has one of the largest fan bases of any high school prospect in recent memory. There has been little to no concern about Todd or Green fitting in, but what about Sotto? How will a 7-foot-2, uniquely skilled big man fare against this type of competition?
It’s somewhat difficult to compare Sotto to other players, especially considering how much of his development has come in the last calendar year. However, it should be clear that Sotto is a special prospect and someone that could blossom even more under the G-League’s coaching and tutelage. Offensively, there simply aren’t many players like him. Sotto sees the game and understands how to dissect the opposition differently than other big men. He’s easily among the best passing post players of the last decade and actively looks to set up others from the wing, post, in transition, or top of the key. Sotto lacks strength but is quicker than most players at his position, which allows him to attack off the dribble and make plays quite regularly. He can score in an incredible variety of ways, able to reliably post-up, spot-up, cut without the ball, or create his own shot off the dribble. Sotto is a very high-level stretch big with phenomenal understanding of how to keep the opposition constantly guessing. On the other end of the floor, he stands out as a useful rim-protector and quality rebounder with great ball location instincts. It’s unclear if Sotto could ever become more than a solid defender, given his lack of elite strength and athleticism, but definitely possesses the proper timing to block shots within the flow of a game.
Though Sotto’s situation is fairly complex on the surface, his positives still clearly outweigh any potential negatives at the professional level. Guys over seven-feet tall with his array of skills do not grow on trees and will always be coveted across NBA teams. There are some questions surrounding his toughness and defensive ability, but Sotto seems like a guy who has started to figure things out and will only continue trending in encouraging direction. It’s still too early to tell, but he could have the makings of something truly extraordinary.