Kai Sotto left out in NBA Draft; Paolo Banchero taken 1st overall

Kai Sotto left out in NBA Draft; Paolo Banchero taken 1st overall

Kai Sotto was not drafted in this year's NBA Draft. NBL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Filipinos' hope to see a homegrown player get drafted into the NBA remains a dream after seven-foot-three wunderkind Kai Sotto was left undrafted in the 2022 edition of the league's annual draft on Friday (Philippine Time) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Adelaide 36er was not among the 58 players chosen for this year's draft headlined by top pick Paolo Banchero.

Banchero went to Orlando as the number one pick.

The 6-foot-10 power forward, who expressed his desire to represent Italy in international play, became the second player of Italian descent to be selected first overall after Toronto took Andrea Bargnani as the first pick in the 2006 draft.

Chet Holmgren, who was the consensus number one pick in early mock drafts before Banchero's draft stock went on a steady increase, went to Oklahoma City as the second pick.

Jabari Smith, who became a late consideration for the number one pick, ended up with Houston as the third overall pick, joining Filipino-American Jalen Green, the second pick in last year's draft.

French player Hugo Besson, who played against Sotto in the Australian NBL for New Zealand, was taken as the last pick of the draft by Indiana.

Besson's fellow French international and Breaker Ousmane Dieng ended up with the New York Knicks as the 11th pick, the highest selection among Australian league standouts who declared for this year's draft.

All is not lost for Sotto, though, as he is now declared a free agent, making him eligible to be signed up by NBA teams at least for their Summer League squads.

Another option is for the beanpole to play a second season with Adelaide next NBL season in hopes of rising up his stock to get an NBA contract.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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