Most of the NBA’s top draft picks saw at least some playing time in Las Vegas, but not Spurs rookie Jeremy Sochan, whose Summer League plans were derailed by COVID-19, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. The ninth overall selection tested positive for the virus shortly after the draft and couldn’t practice with the Summer League squad. He agreed with the team’s decision to not have him try to play in any games.
“I didn’t have any injuries, but COVID still affects you, affects your lungs,” Sochan said.“I didn’t practice, and I was out of shape. … It made sense for me not to play here and I am always going to listen to the people in the organization.”
Sochan said he “stayed in bed and slept a lot” after contracting COVID, but he felt better after three days. He has spent most of his time in Las Vegas doing weight training and working with Summer League coach Mitch Johnson to learn the team’s playbook. He has also been a prominent cheerleader during the games and has been impressed by fellow first-round picks Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley.
“I think both have done great,” Sochan said. “There are some areas where they could have done better, but it’s a learning experience for everyone. (Two-way player) Dominick Barlow has also done well. I think it’s been a learning experience for them. They just want to learn and win.”
There’s more on the Spurs:
- Branham turned in his best performance Saturday in San Antonio’s final Summer League game, Orsborn notes in a separate story. The 20th pick in the draft scored 23 points while hitting 8-of-15 shots from the floor and 5-of-8 from three-point range. “Him being decisive is going to be the key,” Johnson said. “He gets in between sometimes with, ‘Should I drive it? Should I shoot it?’ Or he’s thinking, ‘I missed the last one.’ When you are as versatile and as skilled as he is, you just need to play and be aggressive. … That’s going to be one of his strengths (three-point shooting), so he needs to try to score.”
- Jordan Hall, an undrafted rookie out of St. Joseph’s, declared for the draft in 2021 but took the Spurs’ advice and returned to school for another year, Orsborn states in another piece. Hall, a combo forward who’s competing for an open two-way slot, reminds a lot of people of former Spur Kyle Anderson.
- Johnson called it “bittersweet” to have Darius Days sign a two-way deal with the Heat after a strong performance with the Spurs, but he said that’s one of the purposes of Summer League, Orsborn tweets. “It’s all about these guys either finding jobs or trying to promote themselves within their current job,” Johnson said. “So that’s good on him.”