IT will not take overnight for NBA G League-bound Kai Sotto to become NBA-ready.
Although the 7-foot-2 young center is on the right track of fulfilling his ultimate dream to become the first full-blooded Filipino to make it to the NBA, G League Select team coach Brian Shaw knows that Sotto's development at this stage will take a little more time.
"Kai is young, and a lot of times, when you grow that fast in such a young age, it takes a little bit more time to get your body and your strength and get a foundation to catch up with you," said Shaw during a Zoom media conference yesterday.
Once Shaw gets to handle Sotto in the G League's pro pathway squad, the five-time NBA champion hopes to develop him in the same way he did with former Los Angeles Lakers big men Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, who both earned championship rings in 2009 and 2010.
"I think with the work we'd be putting in every day, some of the things I'll be able to share with him and chart his progress like I did with a young Andrew Bynum or a young Pau Gasol — I even played with Shaq (O'Neal) when he was young — they got better and better as time went on, so I don't see how it'll be any different with Kai," said Shaw.
Bynum, whom Shaw handled in his early days as a Lakers coach, is getting comparisons with Sotto's development this early.
"One of the players I've coached, he was at the time the youngest player to ever come into the NBA, was Andrew Bynum with the Lakers. He was a young big guy who eventually became very, very good, but it didn't happen overnight," said Shaw.
"So I think if Kai puts in the work, obviously he's gotta spend a lot of time in the weight room getting stronger with our strength and conditioning coach, I think he has the aptitude to play the game and has high basketball IQ... It's just a matter of putting in that work every day, during games, putting everything at game speed," he added.
Aside from Sotto, Fil-Am Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, Daishen Nix, Congolese teen star Jonathan Kuminga and young Indian sensation Princepal Singh will be in the G League Select team for the 2020-21 season.
A projected to be a top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-5 Green is currently working on his outside shooting and his mental toughness.
“People are saying that I have no outside shot and I think in the NBA you have to work on that,” said Green in the same Zoom media conference.
Filipinos were able see Green's talents in the NBTC National High School Championships as part of the FilAm Sports USA team in 2018 and 2019.