In his last five games, Spurs rookie Jeremy Sochan has had one of the best runs of any rookie this season. The ninth pick in last year’s draft has at least 14 points in each of those games, with an average stat line of 15.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 2.6 APG, and shooting splits of 52.7% from field, 58.3% from three and 82.4% from the free throw line.
His recent improvements were prompted by a unique change the Polish teenager made to his game on December 19, when the then 45.8% free-throw taker abandoned his traditional mechanic and opted for a one-handed shot at the line.
This decision was as bold as his ever-changing hair color, but it paid off. In the 19 games since that date, the former Baylor Bear has converted 75% of his attempts from the strip and his pointing average has increased nearly five points to just north of 12 per contest. The 6ft-8 forward was undoubtedly one of the best rookies in the league at this stretch and won’t turn 20 until March.
Before Sochan was drafted, a big part of Sochan’s foundation as a potential player came from what he brings to the table outside of goalscoring, which has been fully showcased so far this season. The cornerstone of the San Antonio franchise is the only rookie aside from runaway rookie of the year Paolo Banchero, who ranks among rookies in the top 8 in points, rebounds and assists per game. He was a fun man, valuable on the glass and has shown flashes of his brilliant, versatile defensive ability.
However, the questions surrounding Sochan have always related to what he can bring to the table as a Sagittarius and astronaut. He shot under 30% from the bow on limited attempts in both college and the first half of his rookie season. But in the 19 games since he changed form at the line, he’s shot 34.1% from deep.
It’s fair to question the sustainability of this competency, especially given the comparable number of attempts, but the tape offers encouragement nonetheless. Sochan not only punishes short closeouts, but also uses this shooting ability in bursts to proactively chase jump shots from dribbles. His over-the-shoulder fadeaway, in particular, pops and quickly becomes a signature move.
It’s definitely worth watching the progress Sochan can make in the second half of the season and gives Spurs fans something to get interested in if the team takes part in Victor Wembenyama’s Sweepstakes.
Would you like to join the discussion? Like Draft Digest on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to keep up with all the latest NBA Draft news. You can also meet the team behind the reporting.