The unconventional development of Jeremy Sochan is paying off for the Spurs

Jeremy Sochan
Jeremy Sochan / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages

This season has been all about development for the San Antonio Spurs, though they took the usual route to develop second-year power forward Jeremy Sochan. The Spurs switched him to point guard before the start of the season in hopes that he would emerge as a point forward.

The Sochan point-guard experiment didn't exactly lead to that result but it has given him more experience as a playmaker. That has given him more reps as a passer and that has started to pay off now that he is back in his natural position of power forward.

During the team's first 20 games of the season, the Spurs floundered with Sochan at the point, going 3-17. While they haven't faired much better record-wise, they have definitely played better with him sliding up to power forward, and so has he, averaging 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in 30.1 minutes.

He has begun to look more comfortable attacking the basket and has been much better at passing off the dribble. That is a positive development, as has his 3-point shot hitting 38.1% of his threes on increasing volume.

Despite the unorthodox approach, Sochan has made significant strides this season.

Combine Sochan's improved 3-point percentage with his free-throw percentage and there is increasing evidence that he is becoming an actual shooter. After all, after shooting below 70% from the line as a rookie, the Spurs had him take one-handed free throws, causing his percentage to jump nearly 10% up to 79%.

If his shooting is for real, then Sochan's value goes way up. A 6'8 power forward who can shoot, cut, attack the basket, or pass, in addition to being able to defend multiple positions, would make him the ideal fit next to Victor Wembamyama.

Only a handful of players can do that in the NBA and at 20, he is the youngest and has a chance to add more to his game. With him taking nearly three threes per game and shooting them at an above-average clip, there is a chance that he could get all the way up to five attempts per game with good efficiency. That would make him a high-volume 3-point shooter, something that many wouldn't have expected possible after coming out of Baylor.

That is important because the Spurs perennially rank near the bottom of the NBA in 3-point shooting but have been trending in the right direction. Moreover, having both Sochan and Wembanyama launch threes at a high rate would help modernize their offense.

With a big man like Wembanyama, who can also play in the post, having four shooters around him will be crucial. Before the start of the season, it was questionable if Sochan would ever become one but he is slowly putting those concerns to rest.

Once the Spurs find a long-term option at point guard—hopefully one that can both shoot and create effectively—Sochan could prove to be a terrific complementary piece. One who can knock down open shots, drive, and serve as a secondary or third ballhandler. Those players aren't easy to come by and the Spurs were right to focus on his development, no matter how unorthodox their approach has been.