Sochan has plenty of upside to warrant a top 10 pick
As fun as it may be to analyze how well a particular prospect will fit on a team, when that team is selecting a player in the lottery, the player needs to be more than just a good fit. Ideally, a lottery prospect will be a long-term, high-upside investment that could contribute to a championship-caliber team even if the return on investment doesn’t come for a few years.
So, does Jeremy Sochan have enough upside to warrant a top 10 pick? If you’re asking me, I think he does, and that it comes down to his impressive basketball IQ and feel for the game. Many draft analysts (including myself on occasion) tend to fall in love with a player’s upside solely due to the fact that they’re an eye-popping athlete—think Luka Samanic, for example.
On the other hand, players that have upside because of their tangible skills and high basketball IQ perhaps despite not being the best athlete tend to go a bit underrated—think someone like Josh Giddey in this case.
What I’ve come to admire about Sochan as I’ve watched him more is that he likes to use the athleticism he does have in the most advantageous way possible and make up for any shortcomings using craft and finesse. For example, while Sochan isn’t able to create a ton of space on offense with his first step, he effectively uses spin moves, pump fakes, and step-throughs to get points of his own and can make a high-level passing read when he’s in trouble.
In the 2021 NBA Draft cycle, I had fallen for Kai Jones’ upside because of his raw, yet jaw-dropping athleticism, and I had simultaneously fallen for Alperen Sengun’s upside because of his high-IQ, hyper-polished game despite his clear athletic limitations.
Josh Primo falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum in my mind and it’s why that pick has vastly grown on me since last July. Jeremy Sochan strikes me as yet another player that lies somewhere in the middle of that spectrum and I think that’s what could ultimately sway the Spurs in his direction.
This past Thursday, Sochan revealed to the media that he spoke with the Spurs at the NBA Draft Combine, noting his session had "great energy" and that "[the Spurs' representatives] were all very cool." While the Spurs will have several candidates available at the 9th overall pick, I would argue that Jeremy Sochan's blend of size, athleticism, and feel for the game is unique to him in his draft class, and if he's available, the Spurs will need to seriously consider him for the future.