Spurs: Coach Popovich's latest quote kills two birds with one stone
This season, the San Antonio Spurs rank in the top ten in three-pointers attempted and overall percentage from behind the arc, at eighth and seventh. After the insane shooting year from Keldon Johnson last year and the breakout of Devin Vassell this season, it should be no surprise that the Spurs are a better shooting team than last year, but their continued excellence from behind the arc is in part to two shocking players: Tre Jones and Jeremy Sochan.
Jeremy Sochan was not drafted to be a three-point shooter right away. He was supposed to be a swiss-army knife who can move the ball, defend, and play smart basketball, which makes everyone around him better. He is seventh on the roster in attempts per game, at 2.7, and 12th in makes, at well under one three per game.
Shooters shoot: Jeremy Sochan and Tre Jones get the memo
Tre Jones is a career 28.8% shooter from deep, but this season he is hovering at the 41% mark on 2.4 attempts per game, which is more than triple the attempts he put up last season. While Jones should not be expected to keep up this efficient clip given the way his career has panned out, it is refreshing to see two young starters play with confidence. There is no expectation that either Jones or Sochan will be elite three-point shooters anytime soon, so they are unlikely to become discouraged if they hit a cold streak.
Coaching genius Gregg Popovich is helping to facilitate the confidence and development of the two young starters. Despite their poor career numbers, both are urged to take pretty much as many shots as they want.
Again, Jones has been lights out this season, but we can’t reasonably expect him to continue the pace he’s on. If Sochan wants to become a Bruce Bowen-type player who can shoot and defend all five positions, he will need to get shots up. This season, the Spurs are less concerned with winning games and more interested in developing their talent, so showing Jones and Sochan that they have the green light is very important to the goals of the season.
I don’t expect either one of them to win three-point contests anytime soon, but if they can both post a 35% rate on three or four attempts per game, I think their ceiling suddenly moves way, way up, and the Spurs continue to show they are just one piece away from real contention.