Kai Sotto’s Seat: The NBA Summer League Opener in Orlando was Surprising.

Kai Sotto’s benching in Orlando’s NBA Summer League debut triggered speculation from fans and analysts. Summer league games can be a great way for teams to develop and evaluate their players. It’s common for coaches to rotate the lineups to allow everyone to have a fair chance.

It’s important to respect the decision-making of the coaching staff, even if some fans were disappointed that Sotto was not on the court for the opening. Summer league can be a valuable learning experience for young players, like Sotto. The coaching staff will have a plan to ensure Sotto’s development and growth. Remember that Sotto is only at the beginning of his NBA journey. There will be many opportunities in the future for him to show off his skills and grow.

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey – Kai Sotto logged a DNP (did not play)-coach’s decision in his much-anticipated NBA Summer League debut as the Orlando Magic lost to the towering Detroit Pistons, 89-78, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time). 

“It’s a rotation. [He] should get some fun next game,” Sotto’s agent Tony Ronzone from Wasserman told Philstar.com After the loss. 

Dylan Murphy, the Magic Summer League’s coach, stuck to a rotation of 10 players that alternated D.J. Wilson and G League Center Robert Baker II are both playing in the slot. It backfired against the Pistons’ starting twin tower — 7-foot James Wiseman and 6-foot-11 Jalen Duren —as the Magic were clobbered on the boards 46-30. 

Wilson and Baker II combined for only five rebounds while Wiseman & Duren racked up 19 boards. 

Duren, who is 19 years old, led the Pistons in scoring with 17 points. He also had eight rebounds. Wiseman recorded a double-double (16 rebounds, 11 points) in the Pistons’ dominant Summer League debut. The Pistons led by up to 12 points. 

The game was tight until the Magic lost the lead in the crucial third quarter. In that period, the Pistons scored 21-13 points and controlled the boards by 11-6. 

No. Ausar Thomson, Detroit’s 5th-choice pick, had a stat sheet that was stuffed with Detroit’s seven points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks. 

Kevon Harris, a two-way player, led the Magic in scoring with 21 points. Anthony Black, 6th overall pick this year, played an all-around match with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. 

Jett Howard is Orlando’s lottery pick. Jett Howard added eight point, four rebounds four assists and even three steals. However, he struggled to make 3-of-13 field shots. 

Sotto will face his former Adelaide 36ers teammates Mojave King, and the Indiana Pacers in Sotto’s second chance. 

NBA TV will broadcast the game at 8:30 pm on Monday (or 8:30 am on Tuesday morning, Manila time). 


Alder Almo, a former senior writer for Philstar.com Philippines as well as NBA.com Philippines. He currently lives in Jersey City and writes articles for Heavy.com.