Instant Reaction: Spurs Pick Jeremy Sochan to Fortify Defense

The San Antonio Spurs selected Jeremy Sochan out of Baylor with the ninth overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft. It’s rare that this can be said about a Spurs draft pick but this wasn’t a surprising selection by San Antonio. In fact, it’s who I predicted the Spurs would pick in the final mock draft (and the second to last mock draft that was published three weeks ago, for what it’s worth).

I really like this pick for the Spurs. Sochan is the most versatile defender in this draft — and it’s not even close. He can legitimately defend all five positions. Whether he’s switched off onto a quick point guard or battling in the post against a burly center, he never looks like he’s in over his head.

Listed at 6-foot-9 and 230 pounds, Sochan’s most natural position is power forward. With the Spurs, I expect him to be inserted into the starting lineup really early in his career. Keldon Johnson will shift to small forward, which is likely the better long-term position for him anyways.

As a freshman at Baylor, Sochan stood out as a player who always seemed to be ready to compete when the going got tough — particularly on the defensive end. Even in clutch situations, his ability to make seamless switches in the blink of an eye was special. I also loved the physicality he played with at the defensive end. For a 19-year-old, he played a tough brand of basketball and routinely got under the skin on his opponents.

The questions with Sochan are on the offensive end. Specifically, his shooting is worrisome. Throughout his basketball career, he’s been a sub-30% three-point shooter and a sub-60% free throw shooter. As fantastic as he is on the defensive end, if he can’t improve his shooting, Sochan’s upside will be capped. With that in mind, let’s hope that Chip Engelland can once again work his magic.

Other than his shooting, I like what Sochan brings to the table offensively. He’s not an elite leaper, so he’s not someone who finishes above the rim often. However, he’s a really good ball-handler for someone his size and his age. He passes it well, processes the game quickly and can drive the ball into traffic competently. All in all, he’s a smart, advanced offensive prospect who will also be an asset on that end of the court — as long as his shooting improves.

Big picture-wise, Sochan is a fantastic fit on the roster. Defense and rebounding were problems last season but shifting Johnson to small forward and inserting Sochan at power forward should solve a lot of issues. Spending a top ten pick on the frontcourt also keeps minutes open for backcourt up-and-comers like Devin Vassell and Joshua Primo who the Spurs recently selected in the lottery. 

Overall, I give this selection two thumbs up. Sochan is who I thought San Antonio would pick and was the highest rated prospect remaining on the Spurs Big Board

The Spurs now have three more picks remaining in the draft. In the first round, San Antonio has 20 and 25. in the second round, the Spurs have the 38th overall selection.