2023-24 NBA Draft Guide: Four Sophomores to Fade

  • For this installment, we will look at second-year players whose fantasy outlook for the upcoming season offers a number of question marks. Whether that be because of their current roles, or overall weaknesses in their games, I do not expect these players to sustain season-long standard-league value in 9-cat formats for next season. This is not a reflection on their long-term values, as these players can of course still improve, and could find themselves in different roles or even on different teams in the future. It is more of a reflection on what to expect from them for the 2023-24 season.

    We will be analyzing four players in this article that were floating in and out of waiver wires last season and could provide top-120 value or better for stretches of the season. Especially during stretches in which their roles increase due to injury-related absences on their teams. However, I would not expect them to finish the season ranking inside the top-120 in per-game value. Due to this, I would rather not use one of my last draft picks in drafts to select one of these players and instead go for a selection late which will offer more reliable production. We will be looking at each player in-depth, looking at why their upside might be capped for the upcoming season. They will be listed according to their rank this past year, based on per-game averages in 9-cat formats.

    Jeremy Sochan

    2002-23 Rank (9-cat Per Game): 243rd
    2022-23 Per Game Stats: 11.0 p/g, 5.3 r/g, 2.5 a/g, 0.8 s/g, 0.4 b/g, 0.6 3/g 26.0 m/g.
    Average current ADP (Yahoo, ESPN, Fantrax) : 138.9

    Other selections to consider instead around his current ADP in Drafts: Dennis Schroeder, Deni Avdija, Herbert Jones.

    Sochan’s rookie season was full of inconsistencies due to a combination of nagging injuries and the fact that the Spurs were not looking to win a lot of games last year. Despite Sochan clearly needing game time to help his development, the Spurs would choose to sit him for a number of games as part of their tank job. He ended up only appearing in 56 games in 2022-23.
    The weaknesses in Sochan’s game were apparent during his rookie campaign:
    He still has a lot of work to do in order to improve his jump shot, which severely limits his fantasy upside at the moment. Sochan shot a terrible 24.6% from beyond the arc on 2.4 attempts per game. In addition to that, he only shot 69.8% from the free-throw line.
    Sochan’s free-throw attempts became a viral sensation once he decided to attempt them one-handed after really struggling from the line to start the year. To his credit, it seemed to work for him as he started showing slight improvements in his percentages once he made the switch.

    With the arrival of Victor Wembanyama to the team, Sochan could see himself relegated to a bench role next season. The Spurs might want to start “Wemby” at the four position next to Zach Collins to avoid him having to guard centers on the other team for most of his rookie season.
    This means that one of Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson or Sochan would need to come off the bench. It seems unlikely to me that this would be Vassell, with a more realistic approach being keeping Sochan in the starting unit for his defensive versatility, while allowing Johnson to act as the primary scorer coming off the bench. Regardless, Sochan could see himself in a position in which he sees less usage than he did this past year.

    Considering these factors, Sochan’s outlook to significantly improve next season seems premature. Dynasty managers should attempt to be patient with Sochan as he is a part of the young core the Spurs are trying to develop around Wemby moving forward. Although his lack of shooting ability can really have a negative impact on fantasy squads, making Sochan a tough play for the 2023-24 season.

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    Read Next: Third Year Breakout Candidates

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