Jeremy Sochan Joins Victor Wembanyama As All-Defensive Talent

Young San Antonio Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan has had a strange 2023-24 season, his second as a pro. Victor Wembanyama isn’t the only pseudo-elite defender on the club’s roster. Nick Moyle of The San Antonio Express-News contends that Sochan has carved out some space in that conversation, too.

Sochan, selected with the No. 9 pick out of Baylor in 2022, has had a competent offensive season on a bad Spurs team (they’re the No. 15 seed in the West at 17-56), albeit while not showing much growth as a scorer or shooter. To be fair, he was played out of position, at the point, for much of the season, before head coach Gregg Popovich came to his senses.

In 73 games this year (72 starts), the 6-foot-9 forward is posting averages of 11.7 points on .437/.308/.771 shooting splits, 6.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks per bout.

“It’s the same as every game,” Sochan noted of his general defensive approach with tough covers, per Moyle. “Defend the best players, get into them a little bit, just make it difficult for somebody like that, players that are going to end up being legendary, so it’s just making it as difficult as you can.”

Jeremy Sochan
Jeremy Sochan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs is surrounded by teammates after his three gave his team a victory over the Phoenix Suns at Frost Bank Center on March 25, 2024 in San Antonio,…

Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

“I think it’s just remembering what they like, what they don’t like, how they like being guarded,” Sochan continued. “Watching even other players guard them, especially in the playoffs, because playoffs are a different level, especially with how aggressive people are. You see how some players don’t like it when you are up against them and making it difficult for them to dribble the ball. Sometimes it’s the other way around. But it’s just reading and reacting to who I am guarding and learning from them.”

One of Sochan’s soon-to-be-best compensated teammates indicated that he admires his defensive moxie. He’s not wrong.

“Jeremy has been playing great on the defensive end,” recently extended Spurs guard Devin Vassell chimed in. Vassell inked a five-year, $135 million rookie-scale contract extension last offseason. It will kick off next summer. Sochan could be in line for a similarly exorbitant raise soon enough (he’ll be eligible for an extension after 2024-25).

Head coach Gregg Popovich praised Sochan’s efforts on that end of the hardwood during a surprise 104-102 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday. Sochan was matched up against the Suns’ sharpshooting All-Star four Kevin Durant.

“KD is such a difficult matchup for everybody,” Popovich said. “He is one of the greatest ever and Jeremy never stopped working his butt off. He was very physical and did everything he could to guard a great player. He also hit the boards for us. He was very special.”