Many Filipino basketball fans were probably disappointed not to see Kai Sotto make it to the NBA. However, Kaijuu immediately got back on his feet and continued his stint in the NBL with the Adelaide 36ers.
36ers head coach CJ Bruton was impressed enough with the on-court impact of the Filipino cager that he decided to insert him into the starting lineup. Adelaide immediately felt Sotto’s impact on the floor, as they have a terrific 4-1 record after the roster shuffle.
While the basketball experts at OKBET are still skeptical whether the 7’3” center will jump to the NBA within the next three seasons, he’s established his place in his return to Adelaide. His place in the starting lineup since December 17 shows the team’s confidence in his development.
Sotto is playing close to the level of productivity he showcased during his first season with the 36ers. He’s averaging 6.17 PPG, 4.28 RPG, 0.56 APG, 0.67 BPG, and 0.17 SPG despite playing fewer minutes than last year.
He’s also exhibiting incremental improvements in his game. His shooting percentage is at a solid 51%. His free throw percentage of 76% also clues us into the amount of work Kai Sotto put into his shot after the draft. He’s also improving his post game as he confidently makes his shots underneath the rim.
Kai Sotto is currently the ninth man in the 36ers rotation, as Bruton prefers to play small ball in end-game situations. But if Kai continues to show out, his coach might give him more playing time in late-game situations.
Bruton Frustrated with Adelaide’s Mentality
The 36ers’ upset loss to the Cairns Taipans may urge Bruton to use Sotto in end-game situations sooner.
Adelaide’s head coach was appalled at his team’s effort during the loss, where they squandered an 18-point lead to lose 86-83. He commented that the team was playing to not lose during the game’s final minutes. He stressed that what his team showed wasn’t the way to play basketball.
“We’re in a dogfight. Every team is,” Bruton said in the post-game press conference. “When you let stuff like this slip, you have to regroup and come back with the mindset that you don’t have long to turn it around.”
Sotto was pulled out of the game in the third quarter. He didn’t see a single minute of game time during the Cairns comeback. He finished the game with eight points and four rebounds in 11 minutes.