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Sotto likely to get playing time in Vegas

KAI Sotto will have a chance to strengthen his bid to play in the NBA after the Orlando Magic officially included the young Filipino prospect in its roster for the Summer League that will run from July 7 to 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

All the 21-year-old Sotto needs is some playing time so he can show his wares and impress the scouts and coaches.

The 7-foot-3 Sotto is one of only two centers in Orlando's 22-man roster. This could open the door for the Filipino to get more minutes inside the playing court, that is, if coach Jamahl Mosley won't go for a small ball lineup.

The Gilas Pilipinas player is set to share the center duties with Robert Baker 2nd, a 6-foot-11 agile big who can also stroke it from deep like Sotto.

The 24-year-old Baker played for the Magic's G League affiliate Osceola Magic last season, averaging 10.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

READY TO SHINE Kai Sotto of the Philippines dunks the ball in a game against the Dominican Republic on July 2021.FIBA.BASKETBALL PHOTO

The next big man in Orlando's rotation in the Summer League is 6-foot-10 power forward D.J. Wilson, who is expected to get most of the playing time at number four as the 27-year-old journeyman is the most experienced player in the team.

Wilson strutted his wares in the NBA for five years, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors. In the 2022 season, Wilson posted 7.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals for the Raptors.

Battle against top picks

Sotto will also have a chance to play opposite the top picks of the 2023 draft as Orlando is scheduled to play against Detroit, Indiana, New York and Portland in the Summer League.

Among the notable rookie picks of the recent draft are Detroit's Ausar Thompson, Indiana's Jarace Walker and Portland's Scoot Henderson.

A 6-foot-7 winger drafted as fifth overall by Detroit, the 20-year-old Thompson averaged 16.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.4 steals for the City Reapers whom he led to the 2023 Overtime Elite championship. Thompson seized both the Season MVP and Finals MVP in that season.

Sotto's Magic and Thompson's Pistons clash on July 9 at 5:30 a.m. (Manila time).

Sotto will next face Jarace Walker when Orlando battles Indiana on July 11 at 8:30 a.m.

Washington drafted the 6-foot-8 Walker eighth overall but traded him and two future second round picks to the Pacers in exchange for the draft rights to Bilal Coulibaly.

The 20-year-old Walker averaged 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 blocks for the Houston Cougars, winning the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 2023.Last but definitely the highest pick that Sotto is going to face in Las Vegas is Scoot Henderson, a 6-foot-2 point guard drafted third overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Orlando and Portland collide on July 14 at 9 a.m.The 19-year-old Henderson averaged 17.6 points, 5.6 assists and 5.1 rebounds for the Ignite team in the NBA G-League 2023 season.

Sotto isn't just about to battle lottery draft picks, though, as he is teammates with this year's sixth overall pick Anthony Black and 11th overall pick Jett Howard.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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