Despite all the perceived slander, I’m coming around to Jeremy Sochan
San Antonio Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Jeremy Sochan’s rookie season is now one month old. The San Antonio Spurs selected him with the 9th pick in the lottery out of Baylor – and that night I let it be known that I was skeptical of that selection.

Sochan is a 6’8” forward best described as a bouncy big. Spurs fans quickly embraced him for his athleticism, defensive versatility, and of course his colorful hair! One month into his NBA career, he’s proving doubters wrong in most facets of the game.

Here is how Jeremy Sochan stacks up against fellow rookies this season:

·       4th in Minutes Played

·       10th in Points per game

·       7th in Rebounds per game

·       9th in Assists per game

·       5th in Field Goal percentage (I’m assuming top 3 within five feet)

 

There is a lot to love about Sochan. Much of what he does never shows up in a box score – the hustle, the ability to defend multiple positions, his motor, the energy he brings on both sides of floor, and his ability to hype up his teammates. I’m sold! I want Jeremy Sochan on this team. Brian Wright got it right!

That being said… Spurs fans piled on me this week because of a factual tweet I posted about Sochan’s inability to make 3-point shots. A blogger wrote a column about my tweets and the fans’ negative reaction.

 

At the time, Sochan was shooting 18% from behind the arc. After last night’s loss to Sacramento, that percentage dropped to 17%. Sochan was not a prolific long-range shooter in college, so I simply questioned why the Spurs are letting him fire away from deep.

Spurs fans tweeted at me and called in to “Halftime with Mike Jimenez” to say that I “jumped the gun” and should wait to see if Sochan can develop a shot. They mentioned past players like Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard who improved 3-point accuracy over the years. Fair Enough. But shooting doctor/assistant coach Chip Engelland is no longer with the Spurs.

 

Sochan obviously read the conversation because he “Liked” one of my re-tweets. My heart skipped a beat when I noticed that. My favorite part: Sochan did not block me on Twitter like Dejounte Murray did when I criticized fans for chanting “MVP” when Dejounte was at the free throw line.

That proves to me that Sochan has the maturity to make it in the NBA. Maybe he likes the criticism. Maybe he feeds off it. If Jeremy improves his three-point shooting and I’m the bulletin board material that he wants or needs… So be it. Whatever works!

 

The Spurs got the best player on the board at #9. I am sold. There are more positives than negatives in Sochan’s game. He’s the Spur I focus on when he’s on the court… and it has nothing to do with the color of his hair.

What do you think of Jeremy Sochan’s rookie season? Let Michael know on Twitter @MikeESPNSA. You can listen to him on “Halftime with Mike Jimenez,” weekdays from Noon to 2 p.m.

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