Jeremy Sochan

Injury Updates: Embiid, Lillard, Hart, Sharpe, Turner, Sochan, Huerter

Joel Embiid returned to the Sixers‘ lineup Tuesday, but he may not be available for an important showdown in Miami Thursday night, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The reigning MVP is listed as questionable for the contest after playing nearly 30 minutes and scoring 24 points in his first game since undergoing meniscus surgery in late January.

Tomorrow’s game will go a long way toward determining which teams wind up in the play-in tournament. The Heat are currently in sixth place at 42-33, followed by the Pacers at 43-34 and Philadelphia at 41-35. Miami can clinch the tiebreaker over the Sixers with a win.

Philadelphia could be missing several rotation players even if Embiid is cleared, Pompey adds. Also listed as questionable are Tyrese Maxey, who missed the past two games with tightness in his left hip, Tobias Harris, who has a hyperextended left knee, and Mohamed Bamba, who sat out Tuesday’s game with an illness.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Bucks coach Doc Rivers provided an update on Damian Lillard, who sat out Tuesday and tonight with a right groin strain, tweets Eric Nehm of The Journal-Sentinel. Rivers said Lillard is “feeling a lot better” today and there’s hope that he’ll be able to return Friday. “I think he’s closer,” Rivers said. “I cannot guarantee that, though. … Now that’s one (injury) that if it’s not 100 percent or 90-whatever percentile they put him in, then no. With that one, we’re just not going to take any chances. It’s not worth it.”
  • Josh Hart is the latest addition to the Knicks‘ injury report, being listed as questionable for Friday’s game at Chicago with a sprained right wrist, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post (Twitter link). Hart was icing the wrist at the morning shootaround before Tuesday’s contest, Bondy adds.
  • Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe, who hasn’t played since January 11 due to core muscle surgery, is moving closer to a return, coach Chauncey Billups told reporters, including Casey Holdahl (Twitter link). “(Sharpe) is getting better, getting on the court with us,” Billups said. “He did a few things in our practice the other day, I thought he looked good so I was really excited about that. … We’ll just keep trying to ramp him up, challenge him physically to see if he can take it.”
  • Pacers center Myles Turner sat out Wednesday’s loss at Brooklyn after dislocating his right index finger while dunking on Monday, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.
  • Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan confirmed that he underwent successful surgery today on his left ankle, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Sochan hopes to be recovered in time to join the Polish national team for this summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament, Orsborn adds.
  • Kings guard Kevin Huerter had successful surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). The team expects him to be ready for the start of next season.

Spurs’ Vassell, Sochan To Miss Remainder Of Season

Spurs guard Devin Vassell and forward Jeremy Sochan will miss the remainder of the season, according to a team press release.

Vassell underwent an MRI Monday morning in San Antonio. The exam revealed a stress reaction to the third metatarsal head in his right foot.

Sochan has been diagnosed with a left ankle impingement and he’ll undergo arthroscopic surgery. That determination was made after the Spurs medical team consulted with outside experts.

Vassell signed a five-year rookie scale extension with $135MM in guaranteed money last October. That extension kicks in next season. He finished this season with averages of 19.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 33.1 minutes per game. He appeared in 68 games, including 62 starts.

Sochan completes his second NBA season with averages of 11.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 29.6 minutes per game. The No. 9 pick of the 2022 draft appeared in 74 games, including 73 starts.

Southwest Notes: Thompson, Sochan, Jones, Mavs

While Jalen Green has been the breakout star of the Rockets‘ recent hot streak, the contributions of Amen Thompson during the team’s 11 straight wins shouldn’t be overlooked, Tim MacMahon of ESPN said on the latest Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link).

After spending most of his rookie season coming off the bench, Thompson has started the past nine games and is averaging 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 30.2 minutes per game during that stretch. While he has provided secondary scoring and play-making for the Rockets, it’s Thompson’s defensive ability that excites the team the most, according to MacMahon.

“The Rockets believe – and have data to back up – that he can be the best non-big defender in the NBA really soon,” MacMahon said.

The primary knock against Thompson is that he has yet to develop an outside shot — he has made just 8-of-55 three-point attempts this season, for an ugly conversion rate of 14.5%. If he can eventually add that facet to his game, his ceiling would only grow higher.

“He’s a jump shot away from being an All-Star for sure, and possibly higher than that,” ESPN’s Tim Bontemps added.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan suffered a left ankle impingement during Friday’s win over New York, jeopardizing his availability for the rest of this season, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. As Orsborn notes, Sochan hasn’t missed a game this season and had expressed a desire to play in all 82, but he has been ruled out for Sunday’s contest against Golden State and figures to miss more time beyond that.
  • Pelicans forward Herbert Jones met the 65-game criteria for end-of-season award consideration on Saturday night, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. It was technically Jones’ 68th game of the season, but he played between 15 and 20 minutes in five of them, and only two of those outings could count toward his 65-game minimum. Jones is considered a strong candidate for one of the 10 All-Defensive spots and could earn Defensive Player of the Year consideration as well.
  • The Mavericks‘ backcourt duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have come a long way over the past 13-plus months, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required). As Townsend observes, the two stars first played together against Sacramento last February, so this week’s back-to-back victories over the Kings, which extended Dallas’ win streak to six games, represented an encouraging full-circle moment. “I always said, this training camp, when got some practices in together, it would be way easier for us to function better,” Doncic said. “And I think it shows, especially now. I think we’re both happy and we’re both doing some good things on the floor. And we have great teammates. So I think this team is special.”

Texas Notes: Smith, Whitmore, Sochan, Doncic

Rockets power forward/center Jabari Smith Jr. was suspended one game by the NBA following a physical fracas with Jazz point guard Kris Dunn. According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, the Auburn alum admitted he was surprised by the decision at first.

“I wasn’t expecting it until they told me the rules,” Smith said. “I deserved it. That’s in the rule book… It’s not worth it… You hurt your team being ejected and then with a suspension.”

The Rockets did win the game Smith missed, a 110-92 victory over the Trail Blazers on Monday, and have since extended their league-best winning streak to 10 games. At 37-35, Houston is just one game behind the tenth-seeded Warriors for a spot in the West’s play-in tournament bracket.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Rockets head coach Ime Udoka told reporters this week that rookie swingman Cam Whitmore‘s recovery from his current knee injury is progressing faster than his initially projected timeline, Feigen reports in another piece. “He’s going to get the contact portion eventually and progressing from spot shooting to moving to contact moving will be next, but we’ll see when that is,” Udoka said. “He heals fast and so he’ll probably beat the three-week diagnosis.” The small forward has enjoyed a productive inaugural pro season off the bench with Houston. He’s averaging 12.1 PPG on .464/.361/.670 shooting splits, plus 3.9 RPG.
  • Second-year Spurs power forward Jeremy Sochan seems to be settling into a groove as one of the peskier defenders in the NBA, writes Nick Moyle of The San Antonio Express-News. Moyle notes that Sochan has been limiting opposing players to shooting percentages that are 5.7% worse than their averages since the All-Star break. “I think it’s just remembering what they like, what they don’t like, how they like being guarded,” Sochan said of his defensive approach. “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.”
  • The Mavericks are riding high of late, having gone 17-6 across their last 23 games. The team has ranked in the top 10 on both ends of the floor during that run and now controls the West’s No. 6 seed, just 1.5 games behind the No. 4 Clippers. According to The Athletic’s Tim Cato, All-Star guard Luka Doncic has embraced a more deferential game. Cato writes that Doncic’s pick-and-roll chemistry with new starting center Daniel Gafford and rookie reserve Dereck Lively II have really helped expand the team’s offensive arsenal.

Spurs Notes: Wembanyama, Popovich, Sochan, Austin

Although Victor Wembanyama is anxious for the Spurs to become a contending team, he knows that building a roster capable of vying for a title is a “tricky” task that requires patience, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required).

“I’m eager for us to win,” Wembanyama said. “But, at the same time, we have to be patient and trust the process. Of course, it’s our job to make it happen as soon as possible.”

As Orsborn details, Wembanyama also hinted that he might be involved in the Spurs’ roster-building process going forward.

“More and more, I’m part of the strategy for the future,” he said.“… I learned throughout the year more and more about how it actually works. It’s a big, big challenge for the front offices to not screw everything up and to build something for the future.”

Despite a strong rookie season for Wembanyama, the Spurs have a 14-53 record this season and project to be one of the three teams that will have the best odds for the No. 1 overall pick. San Antonio could also hold a second top-10 pick in this year’s draft, since the Raptors’ first-rounder will be sent to the Spurs if it falls outside the top six.

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show (YouTube link) on Friday, Bucks star Damian Lillard referred to Wembanyama as “special” and suggested it may just be a matter of time before he’s a prime contender for MVP awards. “I think how competitive he is is what surprised me the most,” Lillard said (hat tip to Cody Taylor of The Rookie Wire). “And that’s what makes me think that very soon I can see him being the best player in the league.”
  • Asked this week about whether he expects to complete his new five-year contract with the team – or perhaps even stick around beyond that – Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich wasn’t willing to speculate about his own future, according to Orsborn (subscription required). “I don’t think about where I’m going to be in four years,” Popovich said. “I think about what we have to do at practice tomorrow.”
  • Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan is on track to play for Poland’s national team in this summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament, according to a report from Eurohoops, which relays an announcement from the Polish Basketball Federation. Poland will have to beat out Angola, The Bahamas, Finland, Lebanon, and Spain to claim a spot in the Paris Olympics.
  • The Spurs hosted the Nuggets in Austin on Friday night and will play another game in the city (vs. the Nets) on Sunday. As Mike Monroe of The Athletic writes, in explaining the thinking behind the “I-35 Series,” Spurs CEO R.C. Buford likened the region to the Bay Area. “We have a market that isn’t in the top 10 in the country,” Buford said. “(But) when we connect our San Antonio and Austin markets we become one of the major players in the professional sports community. … Between Monterrey (Mexico), south Texas, central Texas and Austin, it’s the fastest-growing economic region in North America. So, we want to come meet our fans where they are. We’ve got great fans and have a community in Austin that’s been a part of our team and culture for years. It’s really just being the Bay Area — Oakland, San Jose, Santa Clara, San Francisco — that’s what this is. It’s 60 miles that separates us. How do we connect that?”

Southwest Notes: Whitmore, Zion, Williams, Luka, Sochan

Rockets rookie wing Cam Whitmore is expected to be out for approximately three weeks with a sprained right knee, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Whitmore is averaging 12.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 17.8 minutes per game through 38 NBA appearances this season after the Rockets drafted him late in the first round.

“He has a sprained (lateral collateral ligament), the ligament in the knee and outside the knee,” Rockets coach Ime Udoka said. “So, it’s a three-week timetable as well. Felt some tightness in his knee in the game. Got that checked out. Kind of played through that. We’ll wee how he progresses with rehab and treatment, as well. They say three weeks, but it could be a shorter timetable based on how he reacts to it.”

The Rockets lost star center Alperen Sengun over the weekend due to a severe ankle sprain and bone bruise to his knee.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • After injuries marred his first four NBA seasons, Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is finishing strong this season, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune notes. He has appeared in 53 games, averaging 22.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and a career-high 5.2 assists per night. Getting in better shape has been the key. “I’m getting there,” Williamson said. “Just stacking my days. Extra conditioning over time. I’m starting to see some of those results. I just have to maintain and keep going.”
  • Before Grant Williams was dealt to the Hornets, he trash-talked Mavericks star Luka Doncic during practice. In a radio interview relayed by Brian Robb of, Dallas assistant GM Michael Finley said it didn’t go well for the power forward. “He decided he wanted to get under Luka’s skin. He felt Luka didn’t come that day ready to practice,” Finley said. “To make a long story short, they had a scrimmage going and he was talking trash to Luka up and down the court. So finally, Luka says ‘Okay,” and Luka went on a 26-6 run by himself. You can ask anybody, I’m not exaggerating. He showed everything, the threes, the postups, the floaters, everything by himself.”
  • The Spurs’ Jeremy Sochan is developing a reputation as an agitator and he has an admirer in a player who often gets under opponent’s skin — the Warriors’ Draymond Green, according to Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News. “Not caring what anybody thinks, that’s a skill in this league,” Green said. “Jeremy, he don’t give a (bleep). You can tell.”

Southwest Notes: Jackson, Williams, Jones, Brooks, Sochan

The Grizzlies upset the Bucks on Thursday, with young forwards GG Jackson and Vince Williams playing big parts in the victory. Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes that breakout years from Jackson and Williams are silver linings in an injury-riddled season from Memphis.

Jackson scored a career high-tying 27 points in the win over Milwaukee.

I try to be as coachable as possible,” Jackson said. “My high school coach called me a sponge back in the day. Not back in the day, it was like two years ago. I try to pick up on things as fast as I can, but not too fast to make sure I get every little detail.

Meanwhile, Williams finished that game with 18 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Both players look like they’ll fit perfectly on a fully healthy version of the Grizzlies. Williams gives Memphis another capable perimeter defender while Jackson’s ability to bring instant offense to the bench will be valuable.

Jackson in particular drew praise from Milwaukee’s stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard after the game, according to The Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Jonah Dylan. “I thought he had a great game,” Lillard said. “He came out, he was letting it fly, no hesitation.

Antetokounmpo said he liked Jackson “a lot.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans wing Herbert Jones is shining from beyond the arc in his third season in the league,’s Christian Clark observes. Jones is shooting a career-high 40.7% from deep and is connecting on 52.6% of his threes since the New Year. “Herb has been shooting the ball well lately,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He is getting more and more confident in his shot.
  • Rockets wing Dillon Brooks‘ worst shooting season came last year with the Grizzlies, but he’s experiencing his best efficiency ever in his first year with Houston, Jonathan Feigen of Houston Chronicle writes. Overall, he’s taking smarter shots and helping Houston get into an offensive flow. “In general this year, I think he’s done a good job of really expanding his game and not getting pigeonholed into (the) defensive side only,” Rockets coach Ime Udoka said. “… It’s a lot to play both sides of the ball, not just be a scorer or a defensive guy only. I think he welcomes that role this year. It was good carryover from the Canadian national team and the things he did with them.
  • Jeremy Sochan has had somewhat of a roller-coaster season with the Spurs this year. Sochan took over point guard duties to begin the season, an experiment that was taxing on him and wasn’t producing San Antonio’s best offensive product, according to Tom Orsborn of San Antonio Express-News. However, Sochan seemed to have no regrets about going through with the position change, even if temporarily, and expressed the need for outsiders to have patience while this core grows together. “I always had the mentality that the only way is up,” Sochan said. “Everything I do is for a reason, to learn and grow. So, yeah, I feel good. It’s just growing and learning even more. The sky is the limit.

And-Ones: Embiid, NBA Cup, Taxpayers, Sochan, Rising Stars, More

Team USA head coach Steve Kerr, who texted Sixers center Joel Embiid this week to say hello and wish him well in his recovery from knee surgery, remains hopeful that the reigning MVP will be able to play in this summer’s Olympics, writes Dan Gelston of The Associated Press.

“Our fingers are crossed he’ll be healthy this summer and able to play,” Kerr said. “He’s an amazing player and we’re really excited to have him be part of the program.”

While the Sixers are hopeful that Embiid will be able to return before the end of the season and compete in the playoffs, it wouldn’t be surprising if the big man decided to forgo the Olympics and take the summer to rest and recuperate, given the nature of his injury. There’s still plenty of time to figure out his plan though, since the Paris games are still over five months away.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA’s in-season tournament will have a new name going forward, according to the league, which announced on Thursday in a press release that the event will be known as the NBA Cup and will be sponsored by the airline Emirates. NBA referees will also begin wearing Emirates patches on their uniforms later this month, per the announcement.
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link) breaks down what the luxury tax figures for 2023/24 look like after the trade deadline, noting that nine of the 10 teams projected to be taxpayers a month ago either shed salary or stood pat. The Sixers and Pelicans ducked out of the tax, while the Suns were the only one of those 10 teams to increase their payroll. The 22 non-taxpayers currently project to receive $11.5MM apiece this offseason, Marks adds.
  • Spurs sophomore Jeremy Sochan has replaced injured Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe in next weekend’s Rising Stars game, the NBA announced in a press release. The league also shared (via Twitter) the results of the Rising Stars draft, with coaches Jalen Rose, Pau Gasol, and Tamika Catchings building seven-man rosters from a 21-player pool.
  • Nuggets center DeAndre Jordan would be open to the possibility of playing in Europe later in his career, he said during an interview with Toni Canyameras from Mundo Deportivo (hat tip to BasketNews). Jordan specifically named Barcelona as a team that would pique his interest, since he loves Spain.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic shares some observations on the trade deadline, noting that many of the would-be buyers didn’t have the assets necessary to take a big swing this week.

Spurs Notes: Wembanyama, Jones, Osman, Wesley

The Spurs fell just short on Thursday in a hard-fought battle with Milwaukee, dropping a 125-121 decision to the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, but it was another big night for Victor Wembanyama. As Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News details, the rookie big man racked up 27 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks in just 26 minutes of action, earning praise from two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for his performance — and his potential.

“Everything that he dreams of, it’s going to happen for him,” Antetokounmpo said, adding that he’s “never seen anything like” Wembanyama.

Antetokounmpo also suggested that Wembanyama, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Thursday, is ahead of where Giannis was at similar points in their respective careers, telling reporters that the Spurs youngster is having a “Rookie of the Year season.” However, it was Chet Holmgren who earned Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors for a second consecutive time earlier this week, which Wembanyama says he’ll use as motivation.

“Of course, of course,” Wembanyama said (Twitter video link via Hector Ledesma of Clutch Points). “I’m dedicated and I know at the end of the day I’m going to get what I deserve, and every game is a statement from now on.”

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • Wembanyama remains on a minutes restriction for now, which head coach Gregg Popovich has said won’t be lifted until the big man’s ankle gets reevaluated. According to Popovich, that exam is “coming soon,” per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). “It’s within the next week or two, I believe,” Popovich said on Thursday. “But I don’t know the exact date.”
  • With Malaki Branham out on Thursday due to a right ankle sprain, the Spurs moved point guard Tre Jones into the starting lineup for the first time this season. The move worked well, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News, who notes that the ball flowed nicely on offense and San Antonio’s second unit held its own without Jones. Asked why San Antonio hasn’t been starting Jones all season, McDonald explained (via Twitter) that the team already knows what it has in the fourth-year veteran and has been more interested in learning what players like Branham and Jeremy Sochan can and can’t handle when tasked with the job.
  • Forward Cedi Osman, who has seen his role and his production fluctuate in his first season as a Spur, told Orsborn (Twitter link) on Thursday after scoring 19 total points in his previous seven appearances that he’s still working to understand “what the coaches are asking from me” from game to game. Osman expressed confidence that things “will be better” for him and followed up those comments with a nice showing on Thursday — he scored 13 points to go along with five assists and three steals vs. Milwaukee.
  • After not playing more than 12 minutes in any of the Spurs’ first 31 games, Blake Wesley has averaged 17.6 MPG in the past three and has earned praise from Popovich, tweets Orsborn. “He’s played freely,” Popovich said. “He doesn’t look like he is worried about making a mistake. He’s been excellent at the defensive end.”

Spurs Notes: Wembanyama, Collins, Sochan, Johnson

The Spurs have abandoned two experiments related to the development of No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. San Antonio began the season by starting Zach Collins at center and Wembanyama at power forward so the 18-year-old wouldn’t have to battle with other NBA big men. However, Collins’ unexpected struggles with outside shooting — he’s connecting at just 28.4% from three-point range after hitting 37.4% last season — caused coach Gregg Popovich to move him to the bench after 20 games.

“I think if we were shooting it a little bit better, I think it would have worked better,” Collins said. “The negative right now is spacing, so that’s a big reason why we went back to one big out there starting the game instead of two.”

Popovich has also stopped using Jeremy Sochan as his primary point guard, Fischer adds. Sochan is a versatile forward with a gift for passing, but he had never played point guard before Popovich decided to try him at the position in training camp. Fischer notes that instead of having a designated ball-handler, any of the Spurs’ starters are free to lead the break after grabbing a defensive rebound.

Even though the Spurs are losing at unexpected levels, dropping their 18th straight game last night, Wembanyama’s performance is providing hope for the future. He had 30 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and six blocks against the Lakers on Wednesday, and Fischer believes he’ll be a perennial candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • The Spurs may consider moving Keldon Johnson before the trade deadline (video link), Marc J. Spears of Andscape said on the latest Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip to RealGM). San Antonio has a surplus of wing players on its roster, and sources tell Spears that Johnson isn’t viewed as a good fit with the rest of the starting lineup.
  • Wembanyama’s first meeting with LeBron James didn’t happen Wednesday because the Lakers‘ star sat out the second game of a back-to-back with calf soreness, but the French rookie was excited about matching up with Anthony Davis, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “He’s somebody I’ve studied a little bit in the past and a great player of course,” Wembanyama said, “and I’m glad I’m going to be able to play so much more times against him.”
  • While Wembanyama has been outstanding, the Spurs don’t have the foundation they were hoping to build by having lottery picks in the previous three drafts, McDonald adds. Joshua Primo, their 2021 pick, is already off the roster. Sochan (2022) has been struggling, possibly because of the attempted position change, and Devin Vassell (2020) has cooled off in December after a strong start to the season.