Philippine prospect Kai Sotto is on a fast track to being drafted into the NBA as part of their newly-minted G League Ignite team -- a program designed to groom top-tier talent for the NBA -- but even he knows there is so much to work on before if he wants his name to be called during the 2021 NBA Draft.
According to Sotto, the instructions for him to be NBA ready are clear. That is to play with more aggression and make sure his body is ready to deal with NBA-level competition.
"Everybody wants me to be a little bit more aggressive every possession when it comes to practice and the game," Sotto said. "And to get stronger and to get more athletic because the game today is much faster, stronger."
"Players from one to five now play outside, so I have to do my best to adjust to the game today."
Under the discerning eye of former Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw, Sotto has been training with his G League Ignite teammates in California since August. The group of young prospects recently had select NBA and G League veterans join the team to act as mentors for the young squad.
In the months that have passed, Sotto believes that there have already been noticeable improvements in his game.
"I think I have gotten much better offensively, because coach Shaw and all of our coaches they helped me being comfortable being uncomfortable," Sotto said. "There are things where I am not really good at, there are spots that I need to improve on more and they help me everyday to put me in spots I am having trouble in so I can get used to it. "
"Because at the end of the day, when I go to the next level those are the things that an opponent will try to expose."
As of this writing, there have been some noticeable American media outlets that have Sotto being selected late in the second round or going undrafted in their mock draft. In fact, ESPN has him ranked 94th overall among the top prospects for the 2021 NBA Rookie Draft.
But Sotto isn't bothered by those predictions, banking instead on what he believes he can bring to the table.
"I am not putting too much attention to the rankings, because I know what I am capable of doing," Sotto said.
"Whatever place they write me (in), that's their opinion and I can't do anything about it. So I am just going to focus on getting better."