Jeremy Sochan has endured endless criticism from Spurs fans as he has struggled to run the offense during his maiden voyage as a starting point in the NBA. San Antonio has lost eight straight games and plunged to the bottom of the Western Conference standings, but they still have multiple reasons to hold onto optimism for better days as the season unfolds.
Despite turbulent results at the beginning of his tenure as a floor general, Sochan has showcased a newfound knack for draining the three-pointers that could eventually help San Antonio's lackluster attack take flight. The second-year standout has shot an impressive 41.7% from beyond the arc through 13 games, and his mechanics look smoother than a year ago.
While he entered the league as a non-shooter, Sochan has fine-tuned his stroke, which is no shock considering his enthusiasm to dive into the one-handed free throws to raise his percentage at the line last season. Teams are daring him to fire away from the perimeter, and the former Baylor Bear has been more than willing to make defenses pay when he has space.
That last line is critical to understanding whether his long ball is a genuine flash or a momentary fluke, and so is the context of his nominal volume as a marksman. Of his 24 three-point attempts, NBA tracking data reveals 22 have come with a defender standing at least four feet away. Tune into the tape, and you will notice several players completely leave their hands down.
Sochan has misfired horrifically on some pristine looks, a concerning sign. His release is too robotic, flat, and slow to translate on anything but standstill openings. He must refurbish his jumper before opponents respect his range, and every airball or blocked trifecta only encourages the men on the other side of the ball to back off when he is on the outside.
There is no sense of urgency to run Sochan off the line, and since he has displayed limited versatility coming off screens, relocating, and shooting on the move, that isn't likely to change any time soon. Nevertheless, the 20-year-old has made undeniable progress, and each baby step brings him closer to becoming a consistent three-point threat for the Spurs.