Potential Raptors target Kai Sotto is a gamble, but worth the risk

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Kai Sotto of the 36ers drives to the basket. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)
HOBART, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Kai Sotto of the 36ers drives to the basket. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have just one draft pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, so the expectation is that Masai Ujiri will use that selection on a player who could help Toronto win now. If Ujiri does the long-term developmental route, making history by adding Kai Sotto could be in the cards.

Sotto is seeking to become the first player born in the Philippines to make it to the NBA. At 7-2 with a jump shot that could become a legitimate weapon in the pros if developed correctly, it’s not outrageous for Sotto to have these ambitions. His numbers in Australia were solid for someone his age.

Sotto averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Adelaide 36ers last season. The towering big was one of the most physically imposing players in the league, leaning on his strength and power to make him a difficult player to slow down. Sotto declared for the NBA draft after putting enough on film.

Sotto might not be the best pick at No. 33, but a trade back in the order or some quick reactions once he hits the undrafted free agent market could help bring the gigantic Filipino sensation to Canada. Getting him to Mississauga for Raptors 905 work is the first step towards making him a quality pro player.

Kai Sotto could be a risky Toronto Raptors draft pick.

Sotto’s per 36-minute numbers are a bit more impressive than his raw box score stats. Per 36, Sotto averaged a double-double with 17.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. Sotto was already a reliable rim protector in his first season, but his offense is what will catch everyone’s eye.

Sotto has a legitimate 3-point shot that he needs to be more willing to cut loose. Unlike most big men his size, Sotto is willing to put the ball on the floor and take it to the rim. This won’t be a massive part of his game in the pros, but it makes him a more desirable prospect with more tools to work with.

Sotto is never going to win any 100m dashes, and that lack of mobility could be a very challenging wart for him to overcome at the NBA level.

Sotto is a bit lumbering, and he is likely several years away from contributing at the professional level, but the Raptors have the developmental staff around their organization to turn him into something positive in the NBA. Don’t be surprised if he is given a two-way deal right after the draft.

Next. 3 HBCU prospects to draft. dark