NBA G League coach sees Nikola Jokic in Kai Sotto

Published August 13, 2020, 3:46 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Kai, like Nikola, can be a facilitator, says Brian Shaw
nikola jokic kai sotto
NBA G League coach Brian Shaw likens Filipino prodigy Kai Sotto to the Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic. (Photos from AFP / FIBA)

Kai Sotto’s G-League coach Brian Shaw already has seen comparisons between the 7-foot-2 phenom and a current star of the Denver Nuggets.

“I think he has the ability to play like Nikola Jokic,” Shaw told Filipino reporters in Thursday’s NBA Republika Playoffs online media availability.

Though Shaw has yet to spend time with Sotto to map out their plans for the Select team, seeing videos of the former Ateneo high school star has enabled him to see some resemblance of the Serbian-born Jokic.

“Obviously, I haven’t had time to be around him but from the films that I watched on him, looks like he can shoot the ball from the outside, he can be a facilitator where you can put him on the top of the floor, give him the ball and let him do dribble handoffs, much like you see Jokic,” said Shaw.

Brian Shaw
Kai Sotto’s G League coach Brian Shaw (Wikimedia Images)

“So I do see him as a guy that is pretty versatile,” added Shaw. “Obviously, he has to get stronger, but I think he can play back to the basket as well as facing the basket, and facilitate for his teammates.”

The 7-foot Jokic, who has been with the Nuggets since 2015, has emerged as one of the NBA’s top players with his ability to play both inside and outside as well as having the skill to make no-look passes.

Sotto decided last May to join the G-League squad instead of accepting offers from US NCAA Division I schools, a move seen as a preparation for his possible entry in the NBA as early as 2022.

READ: NBA G League ‘best option’ for Kai Sotto, says coach Chot Reyes

For Shaw, a former NBA veteran who won three championships for the Los Angeles Lakers, he hopes to give Sotto and his other players like Fil-American Jalen Green tips to not only improve his skills but also prepare him for the NBA grind.

“My job as a coach is to try to develop these guys and teach them as best as I can through my experience on how to be pros on and off the court. So I’m forward to the opportunity to do that,” he said.

READ: Kai Sotto gets NBA G League welcome package