Flash or Fluke: Can Jeremy Sochan develop a reliable midrange jumper?

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Anyone who carefully watched Jeremy Sochan during his lone season at Baylor knows he earned lottery prospect status with his relentless motor, extraordinary defensive versatility, and invaluable connective playmaking. Despite possessing skills that every team covets in a modern forward, his offensive shortcomings ostensibly capped his ceiling as a complementary piece, preventing Sochan from coming off the draft board before potential cornerstones like Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jaden Ivey.

Sochan has been everything scouts advertised he would be since the San Antonio Spurs took him ninth overall in the 2023 NBA Draft, stuffing home thunderous putback slams, diving on the court for loose balls, running the floor in transition for easy buckets, switching seamlessly across positions, and even taking some secondary ballhandling reps. He has also drained a handful of midrange jumpers, a pleasantly surprising talent the rook rarely showcased in college.

Before anyone mistakenly makes Sochan out to be a midrange maestro, it only takes one glance at the numbers to debunk that theory. Per Synergy, the 19-year-old forward has made 39.2% of his 51 attempts off the dribble from that zone. The volume is virtually negligible, and the efficiency (0.78 PPP) is less than ideal. Regardless of the results, his eagerness to venture outside his comfort zone in live-game action highlights his appetite to expand his arsenal.

The six-nine do-it-all prospect must improve his shooting percentages on midrange jumpers for them to become a legitimate part of his toolbox. But several encouraging indicators suggest he might be able to do just that at some point in the not-so-distant future.

Most of his in-between game is simple. He doesn't take heat checks early into the clock or waste time with excessive dribble combinations. Instead, Sochan typically puts the ball on the hardwood once or twice after curling around a handoff before rising from the elbow, where defenders often sag off him, hoping he misfires.

This once timid experimentation from the Polish prospect has ripened into frequent forays. Sochan has steadily buffed the mechanics of his straight-line stroke as the season has unfolded, a much-welcomed developmental sign for someone labeled a non-shooter eight months ago.

The Spurs have seen Sochan nail a bump fade, spin into contact to create space, and fade in the post over either shoulder. However, these sporadic instances of impressive shot-making are challenging to decipher. Are they real flashes that might translate into consistent production? Or are they a one-off fluke?

No one can peer into the future and provide a conclusive answer to either of those questions. But judging by the glowing testimonials about Jeremy Sochan and his outstanding work ethic behind closed doors, the chances of him rounding out his scoring repertoire don't seem far-fetched.

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