Sochan embracing defensive challenge as Spurs face Luka and Kyrie in season opener

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors
San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs are mere hours away from kicking off their season, and fans around the world are eagerly anticipating the beginning of a new era in the 2-1-0. There is considerable curiosity about what this franchise has in store for us, especially after the front office added a generational prospect like Victor Wembanyama to their animated frontcourt tandem of Jeremy Sochan and Zach Collins.

Though the Silver and Black sported a historically horrendous defense last season, the entire roster has demonstrated a commitment to improving on that end of the court. Sochan was one of the only lockdown defenders on a team that surrendered 123.1 points per game in 2022-23, and the second-year forward talked about flipping the script against the Mavericks after a recent practice before the season opener.

“The first game is with Dallas,” Sochan said. “You’ve got Luka. You’ve got Kyrie. It’s going to be a tough test, but I think if we play together, play hard, I feel we can do it.”

This upcoming contest holds significance for San Antonio getting off on the right foot in their maiden voyage together. Sochan acknowledged the Spurs must get on the same page to prevent Dallas from running up the score, but he expressed genuine enthusiasm for the opportunities and challenges that his potential individual matchups with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving will present.

“I love those kind of matchups,” Sochan said. “I work my a** off. I’m gonna play hard and try to stop them as much as I can. They’re both superstars, so it’s going to be tough. But those are the types of matchups I want.”

Doncic enters this game questionable with a calf strain, but the Mavericks have enough talent to give us a glimpse at how San Antonio will fare against one of the best clubs in the association. While some players would celebrate avoiding a head to head with Luka, the 20-year-old enforcer welcomes every obstacle that comes with defending a superstar scorer.

“I think it’s just something in me,” Sochan said. “I want to play against the best. I want to be around the best. That’s how you improve and that’s how you become your best. I don’t know if it’s the fire in me, but it feels good to be able to guard and play against the best.”

The intensity from Jeremy Sochan is something that will undoubtedly excite Spurs fans as they count down the seconds until tipoff. This season promises to be a unique experience for everyone in Alamo City.