Amidst all the trade chaos of the last few days, the “draft” for the 2023 NBA Rising Stars Challenge took place. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Spurs rookie Jeremy Sochan was selected 10th overall by none other than Joakim Noah with his 4th pick.
It seems rather fitting that Noah would select Sochan. During his prime with the Bulls, he was a 2x All-Star, 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, and generally known as a pest on defense who didn’t mind playing the role of enforcer. However, (hopefully) the comparisons between the two end on the defensive end, as Noah was never much more than a post presence on offense in his career, while Sochan has already shown to have a more well rounded (and still rapidly improving) offensive game.
When he chose Sochan, Noah had nothing but praise for him:
When asked about Sochan and why he picked him, the former NBA big man said it is because Sochan is a “dog” and is impressed with his willingness to shoot free throws one-handed.
“I respect that. I respect that someone who is dealing with a little adversity, in the beginning, shooting a free throw in the bright lights one-handed, you gotta be tough to switch it up at midseason,” said Noah. “Proud of the kid. I think he figured something out.”
While Sochan’s recent streak of showing off his rapid improvement got quickly stifled by a pulled back last week, he was initially listed as questionable for tonight's game before being downgraded to out and is not expect to miss the Rising Stars Challenge. Whenever he returns, he will likely be a little rusty at first, but hopefully it doesn’t take him long to pick up right where he left off.
For more information about Rising Stars challenge and its new format, click here. It will take place on Friday, Feb. 17 at 8:00 PM CT and can be watched on TNT.