G League

G League Ignite Veteran Amir Johnson on Being a Mentor to Kai Sotto

Over the course of his career, Amir Johnson has made 870 NBA appearances (2005-19) for the Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers. Although, the latest step in his career saw him join the G League Ignite team for elite prospects.

Being part of the Ignite set-up places Johnson in a mentoring role for the likes of Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, who are projected top picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. But one Ignite player that the 33-year-old recently spoke about was young Filipino star, Kai Sotto.

Kai Sotto shows defensive wares as Ignite bows to G League vets
(Image/Tiebreaker Times)

Johnson’s Mentorship of Kai Sotto:

In a media availability in mid-December, Johnson was asked about whether he had been working with Sotto on a one-to-one basis. “For sure. I catch myself working with Kai in the weight room a lot,” Johnson instantly replied.

“Kai has so much skill and I feel like he has to work on a little bit of footwork, that can be better, and strength. I feel like those are the two things he lacks in. But for skill work, as a 7-foot guy, he’s amazing.”

“To shoot the shot and step out as a big guy, and to do a lot of footwork in the post, he has it all,” Johnson went onto say, praising the 18-year-old’s well-rounded skill-set.

Two Scrimmage Defeats for Ignite:

Ignite have played two official scrimmages against a G League alumni team. With the first being on December 15, 2020, and the second on December 17, 2020. In the first, a close 113-107 defeat, Johnson scored 3 points and recorded 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal.

The second contest was a 125-99 blowout in favor of the alumni team. Where Johnson had 6 points, 9 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block. This was on 75% shooting from the field (3-4 FG).

Following the heavy defeat, the NBA veteran was questioned on whether G League talent gets overlooked. Along with whether the dominant alumni victory was a wake-up call.

“I’ve always taken the G League and D-League seriously. I feel like guys respect it a lot. You’ve seen a lot of guys come up and be stars. It’s just an opportunity for me to get better. I think guys are starting to realize this is where you can improve,” Johnson replied.

Early in his career, Amir Johnson showed out for the Fayetteville Patriots (2006) and Sioux Falls Skyforce (2007) in the then D-League. In February 2019, whilst with the Philadelphia 76ers, he voluntarily played for the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League.

He featured for the Blue Coats due to a lack of NBA playing time, and to stay prepared. In 2 games, he averaged 14 points and 6 rebounds. On 63.2% shooting and 50% from 3-point land.

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