How Jarace Walker and the Spurs can push the boundaries of positionless basketball

Jarace Walker - NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Birmingham
Jarace Walker - NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Birmingham / Alex Slitz/GettyImages
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Spurs taking Walker would test the limits of "positionless" basketball

You aren't alone if you found yourself experiencing a bit of deja vu reading through this scouting report. Walker's player profile is strikingly similar to Jeremy Sochan's from this past season. To be clear, they aren't the same player, but for some, this could still lead to concerns about their ability to coexist on the floor, particularly considering they both need to improve as shooters. So, while I'm incredibly sure Walker is worthy of being selected early in the lottery, the bigger question is whether or not he can share the floor with Sochan.

That was a big question mark for me heading into the college basketball season. Thankfully, After watching more and more of Walker during his time with Houston, I'm convinced he and Sochan could form an incredibly unique duo. And to illustrate what that pairing could look like, I'm going to walk you through what a set play on offense could look like with the offense running through Sochan and Walker and then provide a point of comparison.

Sochan brings the ball up the floor as the lead ballhandler and calls for a screen from Walker. Walker sets the screen, rolls around the free-throw line, and receives the ball from Sochan. Walker now has three choices. One: playing the two-man game with Sochan for easy points around the rim. Two: Driving to the basket or getting into his midrange game. And Three: Putting the ball on the floor and drawing in the help defender before hitting the weak-side shooter.

In an instance where a big like Zach Collins is setting the screen, Walker could instead choose to relocate behind the three-point line for a kick-out pass from Sochan. The ball skills that both Sochan and Walker possess could lead to endless possibilities for the Spurs on offense, particularly if the team continues to surround those players with high-level shooters.

On defense, while I think Sochan is slightly more capable of defending bigs than he's generally given credit for, Walker already has the physical profile to play more consistently as a small-ball five, allowing Sochan to remain closer to the point of attack where he's more effective. The Spurs having a competent shot-blocker would likely instill a bit more confidence in Sochan and even Devin Vassell to be more aggressive on the perimeter.

For comparison, while I think it's far from being exact, the Spurs selecting Walker could mean their goal is to take a similar team-building approach to the Toronto Raptors, with Sochan and Walker being the Spurs' "versions" of Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam, respectively. Sochan would operate more as a point-wing on offense and a point-of-attack defender. Walker would take on a scoring forward role on offense while acting as a hybrid 4/5 on defense.

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