Kai Sotto, along with Jonathan Kuminga and Reggie Hearn, spoke to reporters in a virtual media availability on December 9. Sotto was asked about comparisons to international NBA star, Kristaps Porziņģis. When the 18-year-old prospect pivoted and drew comparisons to 2-time NBA Champion, Pau Gasol.
Sotto holds the ability to shoot from the outside, fitting the mold of a modern NBA-ready center. As well as possessing more traditional big man expertise, such as crashing the boards and controlling the paint. Although, the young Filipino star appears to want to widen his skill-set further.
“If I was to compare myself to an NBA player, I think I would be like a Pau Gasol. Who is more all-around, who can score, pass, and defend too. Who can dribble, who can shoot,” Sotto said.
The 7-foot-2 center went onto mention how Ignite Head Coach Brian Shaw, who was the Lakers’ Assistant Coach alongside Gasol, has helped him study the Spaniard’s game. Along with Ignite Assistant Coach, Rasheed Abdul-Rahman.
“He’s a player that I really watch these days. Especially being around Coach Rasheed and Coach B-Shaw, who coached Pau Gasol before. We’ve been watching clips, especially the Lakers and Chicago Bulls before. Of how they play and execute the triangle. I’ve been learning so much from them.”
Many young players may not levitate towards comparisons of a Pau Gasol-like player. But the 40-year-old has had a storied NBA career. Winning two championships with the Lakers, along with six All-Star selections. Not to mention, the many international accolades he accumulated both at the domestic and national team levels.
Sotto gave further praise to Brian Shaw and the Ignite coaching staff. Stating that they’re actively looking to improve his weaknesses and prepare him for the NBA. Where he is expected to be selected in the 2021 NBA Draft, in just under a year’s time.
“I think I’ve got much better offensively because Coach Shaw and all of our coaches, they help me being comfortable by being uncomfortable,” Sotto said. “There are things that I’m not really good at, there are spots that I need to improve on more. They help me every day.”
“At the end of the day when I go to the next level those are the things that opponents will try and expose. Everyone is doing a really good job helping each other, I think it’s been going good so far.”
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