Kai Sotto gets to test mettle vs NBA stars as Adelaide plays Suns, Thunder
MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto is set to get a taste of legitimate NBA competition in October when the Adelaide 36ers face the Phoenix Suns and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Adelaide announced it will visit the United States to play two NBLxNBA preseason games as part of its buildup for the 2022-23 season.
Sotto and the 36ers will take on Devin Booker and the Suns on October 2 at Footprint Centre before flying to Oklahoma City and face their former player Josh Giddey and the Thunder at Paycom Centre on October 6.
The 36ers coach CJ Bruton, who is seeking to rise from their seventh-place finish (13-23) last NBL season, is looking forward for his team to learn invaluable lessons from the trio of Booker, DeAndre Ayton and Chris Paul in Phoenix and the Thunder, led by Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
“Phoenix Suns, regular season champions, the best record in the NBA and then playing against Josh Giddey and OKC is an amazing opportunity. This is a way to connect Australia and the United States,” Bruton said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase our club and to showcase South Australia.”
“When you play in NBL, you travel a lot. We will fly and prepare ourselves the best way. We have a support staff that will counter that and make sure we are ready,” he added.
Unfortunately, OKC will no longer have its No.2 pick Chet Holmgrem, who could have been a great match-up for the 7-foot-3 Sotto, due to a season-ending foot injury.
The last time Adelaide played an NBA team was back in 2018 and 2019 against the Utah Jazz.
“We always want to test ourselves against the best, and for basketball that is the NBA,”Adelaide 36ers owner and chairman Grant Kelley said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for the club both on and off the court and one that will open doors for our organization.”
Sotto, who went undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft and signed back with Adelaide for his second NBL season, is currently with Gilas Pilipinas for the fourth window of the Fiba World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers.
The 20-year-old Sotto had 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks for Gilas Pilipinas in an 85-81 loss to Lebanon in Beirut early Friday morning.
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