Evaluating the first half of Jeremy Sochan's season

Dec 29, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and forward
Dec 29, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and forward / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Sochan thus far has had an up-and-down rookie season. After 41 games, the 19-year-old Baylor product is averaging 8.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. This is combined with a below-average true shooting percentage of 50. Now while these numbers don't blow anyone away, they don't tell the whole story.

Sochan is a defensive menace, and he's made that absolutely clear. His ability to switch and endless hustle has been valuable to this young San Antonio Spurs team. We have even seen him as a small ball center, and while it's not been perfect, you can see a blueprint for how it could work out.

Jeremy Sochan is still a work in progress

That hustle and ability to not be fazed have given optimism to fans when it's come to the other side of the court. It was widely known that fixing his shooting would be a project, and it's been nothing short of that. Averaging about two attempts per game, he is converting that at a 20 percent rate. There is some cause for encouragement, as his free throw percentage has been shooting up. He started the season at roughly 40 percent, but over his last 10 games, he's more than doubled it to 89 percent.

Sochan has shown not only a strong work ethic but a fearlessness on improving his craft. It doesn't matter if he's shooting free throws with one hand or throwing up another open three-pointer despite missing the last two. He is showing that he is here to learn and grow.

Don't expect instant success with Sochan

There have been tough stretches and games where nothing seems to work for him, but Head Coach Gregg Popovich seems eager to let him work through it. This is reflected in Sochan starting 32 out of 35 possible games while averaging 25.5 minutes per game. This probably keeps his confidence from plummeting to some extent and is a nice change of pace for Popovich. We are used to seeing players get yanked quickly out of games for the smallest infractions.

Finally, we come to Sochans ability to be a facilitator. Something I did not see coming was seeing this lanky teenager play minutes at point guard, which has shown mixed results. He has solid vision and the ability to sling the rock, but I feel he's going to be better suited to a role similar to what we saw with Boris Diaw. That being said, it doesn't hurt for him to get reps at various positions.

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Jeremy Sochan is in the middle of a season that's all about growth and development. I believe we have also seen plenty of bright spots and good games to keep us encouraged. There have been plenty of great players who have had shaky starts or rookie seasons. Fans of this clearly rebuilding team should be patient, observe the growth and enjoy the ride.