Point Guard Predicament: Spurs see-saw between Jeremy Sochan and Tre Jones

Jeremy Sochan - Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs
Jeremy Sochan - Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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We’re now through the first five games of the San Antonio Spurs regular season, and the young squad came out at the end having won three of the five, including a 20-point comeback in their first game against the Phoenix Suns. And through it all, as Coach Popovich confirmed in the preseason, it has been Jeremy Sochan leading the way as the Spurs’ starting point guard.

Understandably, this has led to some peaks and valleys over the course of the past five games, and fans have since dubbed this whole experience the “point Sochan experiment.” To say the very least, the decision to start Sochan over Spurs fourth-year guard Tre Jones has been a controversial one that has split the Spurs’ fanbase and analysts alike. Given all the commotion the situation has caused, it appears that even Sochan himself has taken notice.

So, is Sochan at PG the right move? If it isn’t working, why would the Spurs be motivated to continue pushing it? Are there better alternatives? This experiment has prompted a lot of very legitimate questions from fans, and this will serve as a way of trying to answer most of them while remaining respectful toward all parties involved. 

A personal take

I’d like the the contents of the following few pages to serve as a holistic overview of the point Sochan experiment rather than a highly subjective or angry rebuttal to the idea. It should go without saying that, regardless of my personal feelings on the matter, the Spurs know much, much more about basketball than I’ll ever hope to. If the team chooses to go in a different direction than what I suggest here, I’ll have complete confidence in them doing so, and I think others should, too.

But I want to also provide my personal stance on the matter so that it doesn’t remain ambiguous, so I won’t mince words. Playing Tre Jones as the Spurs’ starting point guard would lead to the most cohesive, winning basketball this season and would be the best-case scenario for multiple parties, likely including Sochan. 

It’s worth recalling that Jones originally made a name for himself during his freshman season on a stacked Duke team that featured the likes of Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish, among others. Jones undoubtedly knows how to play next to NBA-caliber players and maximize their potential in doing so.

Jones then followed his first season with an even more impressive sophomore campaign, having earned the ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season. Despite having a lower NBA ceiling compared to others, he was selected in the draft to be a reliable floor general with a high basketball IQ, and to have already achieved that status and more after only three seasons and change in the NBA as a former 2nd round pick is a rare and impressive feat. So, even beyond his previous experience playing next to star-level players, Jones is also the most natural and competent PG on the Spurs roster, period.

In the words of The Athletic’s, Sam Vecenie, “It was worth experimenting with Sochan-at-PG to start…” but naming the starting PG between Tre Jones and Sochan goes well beyond the question of “who’s the better player?” Even if the answer to that question is Sochan, starting Jones would quickly have a beneficial ripple effect on the rest of the team. Furthermore, the benefits of starting Jones at PG far outweigh those of Sochan at the moment, some of which I’ll dive into a bit later.