The San Antonio Spurs have constructed one of the most exciting young rosters in the NBA. With talented young players like Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell leading their scoring attack the last couple of seasons, paired with promising rotational players in Malaki Branham and Tre Jones, the Spurs were filled with potential going into this year’s offseason.
Then, that potential skyrocketed when the Spurs landed the highest-rated prospect since Lebron James in this year’s draft, Victor Wembanyama. Wembanyama alone has created a buzz around this emerging Spurs group that has locked them in as a must-watch league pass team this upcoming season. Now, the Spurs appear to be a big step closer to completing their rebuilding puzzle.
However, there is one more uprising star on the Spurs that could be a bigger piece to that puzzle than many may realize. That player is the Spurs’ 9th overall pick from the 2022 NBA draft, Jeremy Sochan. While his distinctive hairstyles and charismatic personality already make him an eye-catching player, his game is just as captivating. Sochan displayed a lot of raw talent, hustle, and skillfulness for the Spurs last season. Now, paired alongside Wembanyama in the frontcourt, Sochan will have a huge opportunity to be one of the best young players on one of the best young teams in the NBA this upcoming season.
Jeremy Sochan Will Be a Big Piece to the Spurs’ Puzzle
Coming into the NBA, Sochan’s biggest weakness was without a doubt his shooting ability. In his one season at Baylor University, Sochan shot 29% from three and 59% from the free throw line. It was clear that his ability to shoot efficiently was a concern for him as he entered the league.
Through the first 24 games of his rookie season, Sochan’s shooting struggles continued. He was shooting 18.4% from three and 42.9% from the free throw line. While other areas of his game were still promising, his shooting percentages certainly were not.
However, starting in the month of December 2022, Sochan decided to do something very interesting. He decided to alter his free-throw shooting form to a one-handed free-throw shot. While a bit unorthodox, things changed drastically for the better from that point on.
In the 32 games following his free throw shooting adjustment, Sochan’s shooting numbers improved immensely. His free throw shooting jumped all the way to 78.4% and even his three-point shooting improved to 28.5% on 1.5 more attempts per game. While still not quite at the level he probably wants to be at, the in-season improvement in his shooting was still remarkable.
Sochan also displayed his ability as an offensive rebounder as well as a passer. He averaged a 6.9 offensive-rebounding percentage and a 13.6 assist percentage for the season. He also showed a great handle for a big man and an ability to drive to the rim from the top of the key numerous times.
Sochan finished the season averaging 11 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. His overall ability to flow within the offense, and make timely passes, combined with his shooting improvements, make his offensive game one to keep an eye on this season.
Promising Defensive Player
When it comes to the other side of the court, Sochan has already made his mark as a very promising defensive player.
Sochan showed great signs of being an impactful help defender last season. He was a very effective weakside defender near the paint. He also did a solid job recognizing when to help bring a double team against the opposing team’s top offensive players. Sochan also showed improvement throughout the season at defending in the post. At 6 ‘9, Sochan is a bit undersized against some opposing bigs. Nevertheless, he gets in a good defensive stance and has grittiness. These skills allow him to still hold his own down on the blocks.
Perhaps his most notable defensive trait is his defensive versatility. While Sochan is capable of being an impactful defender near the rim, he also showed the ability to step out on the perimeter and defend. He switches on screens effectively. Additionally, Sochan takes on the assignment of guarding one of the opponent’s better perimeter players. Sochan is able to be a pesky defender far from the rim as well.
Sochan racked up 43 steals and 23 blocks in his 56 games played last season. With his versatility on the defensive end, coupled with his hustle and high intensity, Sochan has the potential to be a premier defender in the league soon. If Sochan continues to get better in this area, he and Wembanyama could soon become one of the better defensive frontcourts in the NBA.
Jeremy Sochan lived up to being an early first-round pick for the Spurs during his rookie season. His defensive versatility, along with his incredible offensive in-season improvements, should have many fans excited about his sophomore season progressions.
His largest area to improve on is clearly his shooting. However, there is good reason to believe he will. Sochan is set on putting in the work to get better in that area.
Sochan recently shared with a Polish Newspaper site, Dziennik Polski, his goals entering his second season.
“In my second year in the league, I would like to develop, improve my shooting, and be one of the top three players on the team.”
It will be difficult to crack the top three on a Spurs team filled with lots of young talent. However, Jeremy Sochan’s motivation to get better is a great sign of what might be to come. If Sochan does improve, he helps aid as a rebuilding puzzle for the Spurs very soon.