TSF coach believes Kai Sotto can make it to NBA: 'Itâs just a matter of when'
The Skills Factory National squad
Twitter/Rob Johnson

TSF coach believes Kai Sotto can make it to NBA: 'It’s just a matter of when'

Alder Almo (Philstar.com) - May 17, 2020 - 11:57am

JERSEY CITY –There’s no doubt in coach Rob Johnson’s mind that Kai Sotto is a legitimate NBA prospect the moment he laid his eyes on the unique skillset of the 7-foot-2 Filipino basketball prospect. 

For the past one-and-half year, Johnson saw up close how Sotto steadily progressed in his development under his watch in the Atlanta-based prep team, The Skill Factory National.  

“He has a lot of strengths. His shooting, his passing, his ability to finish with both hands, and his IQ are what stand out. I thought he was an NBA player the first time he practiced with us.” Johnson told Philstar.com. “It’s just a matter of when.”

That could come sooner as Sotto announced earlier this week that he will take his next act to the NBA G League through its Professional Path Program. 

Sotto, who just turned 18 this week, will be eligible to apply for the NBA Draft as early as 2021. But before making that bold decision, Johnson noted that there are still some things he need to work on especially on the defensive side, an apparent weakness in his game which was also observed by ESPN’s Draft Analyst Jonathan Givony during Sotto’s NBA Basketball Without Border stint in February.

“He will need to improve his pick and roll defense as well as guarding on the perimeter against quicker, stronger players,” Johnson noted. 

But that doesn’t worry him at all as he had seen how Sotto was quick to adapt just like when he polished the once glaring weakness in his offense. 

“Some things I thought he needed to improve on [when he first came here], was his ability to finish through contact. He gets fouled a lot and sometimes it’s not called. He had to learn to finish through the contact and that starts with his base and balance. He did a great job working with P3 (Peak Performance Project) on his body and his balance,” Johnson said. 

His base and balance as well as his conditioning would play critical roles in developing that NBA-type of defense. 

“I think as his body becomes stronger and more flexible, his lateral quickness will become better and his defense will continue to improve,” Johnson said. 

Sotto has already packed 20 pounds since moving here in the US in 2019. But he’s still 11 pounds short of their target weight of 240 pounds to be able to withstand the banging in the G League.

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