Diehard sports fans are of a different breed. And trust me, if you’re reading this right now and/or are planning on watching any more than ten Spurs games this season, you are a diehard fan. Heck, I am too! I’m currently writing a piece about training camp for a team that’s slated to lose 50 plus games. All diehards have one thing in common: a constant craving for more information on their favorite team (hence you logging on to AirAlamo today and opening this article).
With camp just around the corner (teams are permitted to begin practicing on Sunday the 24th; some will start later in the week), the NBA season is within our—us diehard fans’—grasp. That said, I’d like to provide some San Antonio Spurs content that I know you’re so desperately wanting. Here are three things to watch for as your favorite team enters training camp this weekend:
1. Has Jeremy Sochan worked on his shot?
I believe I’ve written some version of the phrase “this question may make or break the Spurs’ season” about 500 times so far this offseason. Even so, it really does apply here. The loss of long-time shooting coach Chip Engelland affects all of the young guys’ development, but none more than Jeremy Sochan.
I’ve written before that Coach Pop wouldn’t have let Chip walk without a good succession plan in place, but I hope that whoever that successor is has worked with number 10 every day this summer. A brilliant defender and versatile option on both sides of the ball (Sochan defended and played all five positions during his freshman season at Baylor), the one thing lacking in his draft profile was shooting ability.
In Waco, Jeremy shot less than 30% from three on limited attempts; a few of those makes were banked in, meaning his percentage probably should’ve been even lower. Even more telling of a bad shooting stroke, Sochan shot less than 60% from the free throw line.
That latter number would make the rookie borderline unplayable at the end of games. We’ve seen teams employ a “Hack-a-Jak” strategy on big man Jakob Poeltl; with two men unable to take free points in the closing lineup, the Spurs would essentially have no offense on the court.
Back to the question— if the answer is yes, the good guys will be friskier than many expect them to be, and Sochan will immediately step in as a Rookie of the Year candidate. If it’s no, I’m not too worried. Jeremy is just 19, with a long career ahead of him. I just hope that the Spurs employ the person who can help get him there.