Jeremy Sochan accomplished a lot last season as an NBA rookie, but the 20-year-old is expecting much greater things with phenom Victor Wembanyama joining him as a teammate on the San Antonio Spurs this season.
“I think it’s going to be scary,” Sochan told For The Win. “Defensively, it’s going to be hard to score against us. We are long. We’re pesky. Offensively, I’m going to be able to find him, and I think the beautiful thing about it is whoever gets the board, just push it. There is no need to pause after getting the defensive board. The way we want to play is: Whoever gets it, you run. You dribble the ball up. It’s going to make everything so much easier. It’s going to make it flow more. I think the potential on both sides is endless.”
Wembanyama was the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and is being heralded as possibly the best prospect to enter the league since LeBron James in 2003. Sochan was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2022 draft and named All-Rookie Second Team after averaging 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 56 appearances.
Sochan’s performance unfortunately did not translate into much on-court success for the Spurs, who went 22-60 and missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. It did lead, however, to a chance to win the NBA Draft Lottery and opportunity to add Wembanyama, who showed glimpses of his enormous potential in his final NBA Summer League game, when he scored 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds after a disappointing performance in his debut.
The 19-year-old is receiving tremendous praise before even playing an NBA regular season game, with TNT analyst Kenny Smith predicting he will become MVP in four years and one executive saying he will be a top-10 player even if he doesn’t live up to all of the tremendous hype.
However, this season may not wind up being all everyone is expecting, with one Eastern Conference general manager expecting the Spurs to load manage their new young star after he played in 34 games for Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 in his native France last season.
Former NBA player Tracy McGrady also warned about the hype being generated toward Wembanyama, saying he’s “seen this before” and referencing similarly built players like Bol Bol and Kristaps Porzingis.
San Antonio added Reggie Bullock, Cedi Osman and Cameron Payne via trade this offseason and re-signed Julian Champagnie and Sandro Mamukelashvili. Head coach Gregg Popovich also received a very lucrative contract, and with Sochan and Wembanyama, San Antonio looks to have a chance to someday return to its former level of glory, when it won four NBA championships in a span of nine seasons.