Southwest Notes: Sochan, Alvarado, Rockets, Mavs

The Spurs‘ efforts to turn forward Jeremy Sochan into a point guard have been a bit bumpy so far, but the team has shown a willingness to stick with it and Sochan has been open to learning, writes Andrew Lopez of The 20-year-old admits it’s “going to be a process” to adapt to the new position, but he’s been getting advice from last season’s starter Tre Jones and said the transition has been “fun.”

“There have been moments where it’s like, ‘Yo, I don’t want to.’ It’s like, ‘f–k this s–t.’ I’m going to be honest,” Sochan said earlier this month. “There have been moments where there isn’t confidence. But there are moments of being confident and just working. Knowing the trust I have from the coaches and players, it helps.”

As Lopez details, the Spurs didn’t have Sochan watch film of any specific point guards when he moved into the role, since they still want him to play like himself rather than trying to emulate someone else.

“He can’t play like Chris Paul or he can’t play like John Stockton,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s got to be Jeremy.”

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins, who said his team “studied” Sochan ahead of the 2022 draft, referred to him as a “Swiss Army Knife-type player” with strong play-making skills, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). Jenkins isn’t surprised that Popovich is thinking outside of the box by experimenting with Sochan at the point.

“When you have been around Pop, competed against Pop, he is very open-minded to trying a lot of different things,” Jenkins said. “In the eras he has been here, playing big, playing small, emphasizing the three-ball, emphasizing the paint, emphasizing faster pace, slower pace, not a surprise.”

Here are a few more notes from around the Southwest:

  • Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado said today during a media session that he’ll make his season debut on Monday night vs. Sacramento, per Christian Clark of “I’m back,” Alvarado said. “I feel good. I will go through pregame. But I’m back. That’s the plan.” Alvarado has yet to play this fall due to a right ankle sprain.
  • Mark Medina of Sportsnaut spoke to Rockets head coach Ime Udoka about the strides his team has made so far this season, the impact that newcomers like Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks have had, and the improvement he’s seen from youngsters like Alperen Sengun. “We knew what he was offensively in a lot of ways and how he impacts the game for us,” Udoka said of Sengun, who is averaging a career-best 20.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 5.7 APG. “He can control things there. But defensively, he has taken a huge step. He’s bought in and has improved on that side of the ball.”
  • While the Mavericks are off to a strong start this season, losses like Sunday’s to Sacramento show that they’re still very much a work in progress on the defensive side of the ball, writes Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required). Rookie center Dereck Lively II has exceeded expectations but has struggled to slow down star bigs such as Domantas Sabonis, who had 32 points on Sunday. “If we’re not scoring 130, it’s hard to win,” head coach Jason Kidd acknowledged.
View Comments (7)