The Trail Blazers’ forgettable 2021-22 season is in the books and it is time to turn our attention to the 2022 NBA Draft. Unlike recent years, Portland possess multiple picks in this year’s process. After finishing the regular season with a 27-55 record, the Blazers enter the lottery draw with the sixth-best odds in the NBA. Buoyed by those odds, the Blazers are poised to exit the draft with the rights to a marquee prospect.
Today’s profile looks at Baylor wing Jeremy Sochan. During his time at Baylor, Sochan produced across multiple areas at a high level.
- Height: 6’9”
- WT: 230
- Wingspan: 7’0”
- Shooting Hand:
- Position: F
- Age: 18
- Projected draft range: 9-14
- PTS: 9.2 | Per 40: 14.7
- REB: 6.4 | Per 40: 10.1
- BLK: 0.7 | Per 40: 1.1
- STL: 1.3 | Per 40: 2.0
- AST: 1.8 | Per 40: 2.8
- FG%: 47.4
- 3P%: 29.6
- FT%: 58.9
Sochan’s playing style is infectious and relentless. His NBA stock is tied to skills on the defensive end of the floor. Due to his favorable frame and athleticism, Sochan can comfortably guard all three frontcourt positions. His lateral quickness and footwork allow him to stay in front of perimeter-oriented players. In the post, he has the strength to stymie post players. When Sochan isn’t on the ball, he is an active and engaged help defender. From sliding into the post to establish position for rebounds to rotating over to contest shots, Sochan is always on the move.
Sochan is a quick decision maker on offense. He is a master of turning steals and rebounds into transition opportunities. On the break, Sochan rewards his teammates that join him. He is always getting others involved. Sochan possesses the skills to generate points in 4-on-3 opportunities in half-court sets, much like Warriors star Draymond Green.
When it comes to generating his own points, Sochan is comfortable finishing through contact at the rim. He has a developing set of post moves and he is quick to utilize them if he is matched up against a smaller opponent. Sochan has an excellent feel for operating out of the dunker’s spot. His masterfully-timed cuts often lead to highlight-worthy finishes at the rim. In general, Sochan is constantly working with or without the ball.
Physically, Sochan has one of the most NBA-ready frames in the entire 2022 draft class. He has proven he can hold his own against veteran players. At age 17, Sochan was featured on Poland’s national team in the EuroBasket Qualifiers.
Sochan has a real lack of proven shooting. If he is going to be considered a two-way threat, he must develop his outside game. In half-court sets, he runs the risk of being completely ignored when he is on the perimeter. That is a spacing nightmare in the NBA. Unfortunately, Sochan’s less-than-ideal accuracy at the free throw line does not indicate that he is due for future growth in this area.
Defensively, Sochan’s only weak spot is his shot blocking. His agility and fundamentals make him a dynamic option, but he is not a vertical stopper.
Sochan established himself as one of the best sixth-man options in the entire country as a freshman at Baylor. Regardless of his bench designation, Sochan averaged 25.1 minutes per game. Those minutes also featured plenty of crunch-time situations. As at team, Baylor finished with a 27-7 record and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. North Carolina bounced Baylor from the tournament in the second round. In that loss, Sochan recorded 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Bears’ comeback attempt against the Tar Heels.
Sochan earned the Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year award and a place on the Big 12 All-Freshman team last season.
Sochan’s NBA profile features two extremes. Defensively, he looks like a versatile player that is ready to contribute immediately. On the other end of the floor, Sochan’s lack of shooting makes him one of the more risky players in the lottery discussion. That said, Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes and Bulls youngster Patrick Williams have overcome pre-draft questions surrounding shooting deficiencies to thrive in recent years.
Sochan fits the mold of a frontcourt player that contending teams covet — if you can look past the shooting. Sochan has the potential to impact marquee postseason matchups once he develops. In the immediate future, Sochan’s diverse pre-NBA experience should place him a step ahead of a few of his peers. He is experienced in international competition, he played a season in Germany’s third tier professional league, and he thrived in the Big 12 as a freshman.
The Blazers shipped out a protected first-round pick last offseason in order to bring Larry Nance Jr. to Portland. That move was built on the idea that Nance Jr. would bring versatility to the frontcourt on both ends of the floor. Sochan fits that mold with a higher ceiling on defense and a lower floor when it comes to floor spacing.
On the defensive end, Sochan’s upside fits on Damian Lillard’s timeline. Sochan would set the stage for coach Chauncey Billups to utilize switches more frequently on the perimeter. Offensively, Sochan has the foundation to exploit opposing defenses that apply too much pressure to Lillard and Anfernee Simons. Sochan is comfortable creating opportunities while moving downhill and he is a quick decision maker with the ball. Those are two attributes that set him apart from a handful of the shooting-impaired forwards of Portland’s recent past.