Tim Cone: Kai Sotto’s body built for today’s game
MANILA, Philippines — Add Tim Cone to the list of people who believe Kai Sotto made the right decision in taking the NBA G League route.
The 7-foot-2 Filipino young star became the first international player to skip college and go with the G League’s pathway program where he joined Fil-American sensation Jalen Green.
“First of all, normally I would encourage everybody to go to college. But there are unique situations and both Kai and Jalen are unique in the game of basketball,” Cone said on NBA Philippines’ Republika Huddle show.
“Right now, more than education, the ability to develop as a basketball player is a priority for them.”
As part of the G League’s program, Sotto and Green will be on the same Southern California-based select team along with other prospects to play against NBA affiliate G League clubs.
For Cone, the experience of playing against high caliber competition is critical for young players as far as their development is concerned.
“Their thrust is development. They have a lot of development-type coaches in the G League and the level of competition they will go against is going to be much higher than it would if they just went as a freshman in college,” the Barangay Ginebra head coach and former Gilas Pilipinas mentor said.
Playing time may not be an issue for Sotto as well in the G-League where it’s more about development than winning or losing unlike in college, according to Cone.
“The key is are they gonna get playing time? I think that was a problem with Japeth Aguilar when he played college in the United States he didn’t get the guaranteed playing that he thought he was gonna get so he didn’t get that opportunity to develop,” said Cone, referring to the Gin Kings forward who played two years at Western Kentucky.
“So I think it’s good because he (Sotto) is going to the G League whose whole thrust is just to develop these guys.”
Cone also thinks Sotto has the tools to flourish especially with how basketball is being played in today’s game.
“He moves well. He has a feathery touch. He’s more along the lines of a modern center,” he said.
“You want him to be like a Shaq or Wilt Chamberlain or something like that. Guy’s gonna play inside and be a power guy—he’s not that type of player which is actually the way he should be because that’s not the way the game is played now. Big men are evolving.”
The 18-year-old Sotto has shown other facets of his game apart from the usual big man skills like setting his teammates up and ability to stretch the floor.
“He’s on the right track. I think the kind of game that we have now is built for his type of body so I think that’s really good news for him.”
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