Inside the Numbers: Where Ty Jerome fits best in the NBA

ty jeromeThe knock on Ty Jerome: he’s not athletic enough. We’ve heard that about a UVA guy before. (Ahem, Malcolm Brogdon.)

The selling point on Ty Jerome: he’s a playmaker.

Oh, and he’s a winner. That’s what a national championship can do for your resume.

Jerome is being projected as an end-of-first-round draft pick, which is a double-edged sword.

Lottery picks come into their rookie year with the expectation that they’re going to start and contribute big right away.

Which, great. Just give me the keys, and let me do what I do.

Guys taken later in the first round are expected to contribute, but not necessarily carry their new team.

And more often than not, late-first-round picks are going to playoff teams, which means the contribution they’re going to be expected to make is one of a more complementary nature.

I’m seeing Jerome associated with four teams in the mock drafts that I’ve been looking – Philadelphia, Boston, Milwaukee and Golden State.

It seems a good exercise, with the draft approaching this week, to examine how Jerome would fit in at each location.

Philadelphia

The Sixers were thisclose to advancing past eventual NBA champion Toronto in their seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Philadelphia has an established franchise point guard in Ben Simmons (16.9 ppg, 8.8 rebs/g, 7.7 assists per game, 56.3% FG in 2018-2019).

The backup on the depth chart heading into the draft is three-year pro T.J. McConnell (6.4 ppg, 3,4 assists/g, 19.3 minutes/g).

That’s really it, as far as depth at the point.

The Sixers have one of the better starting fives in the league, with Jimmy Butler (18.2 ppg, 46.1% FG) and J.J. Redick (13.4 ppg, 41.4% 3FG) in the backcourt with Simmons, and Tobias Harris (18.2 ppg, 7.9 rebs/g) and Joel Embiid (27.5 ppg, 13.6 rebs/g) in the post.

Depth, or lack thereof, is the issue.

Jerome could be an intriguing guy to head up the second unit, alongside either Butler or Redick, whoever would split time to give that unit some offensive punch.

Boston

This could be the most interesting landing spot for Jerome, because the incumbent at the point, Kyrie Irving, is almost certainly on his way out the door in free agency.

The backup, four-year pro Terry Rozier, is battle-tested (9.0 ppg, 2.9 assists/g in 22.7 minutes/g in 2018-2019), but you’d have to assume that Jerome would have a chance to win the starting job.

And you’d have to expect Jerome to fit in well with coach Brad Stevens’ scheme, which bears a good bit of similarity to what Jerome played in under Tony Bennett at Virginia.

The Celtics seem the kind of team that will see a bit of addition by subtraction once Irving is out of the picture. The roster is loaded – built around forwards Jayson Tatum (15.7 ppg, 6.0 rebs/g in 2018-2019) and Marcus Morris (13.9 ppg, 6.1 rebs/g), and shooting guards Jaylen Brown (13.0 ppg, 46.5% FG) and Gordon Hayward (a career 15.1 ppg scorer).

Milwaukee

No, this won’t be any kind of UVA takeover of the Bucks, with Brogdon (15.6 ppg, 50.5% FG, 42.6% 3FG, 92.8% FT) likely on his way out the door as a free agent.

But that means there’s an open spot in the rotation in the backcourt.

Eric Bledsoe (15.9 ppg, 5.5 assists/g, 48.4% FG) is the incumbent at point, technically, though Brogdon and George Hill (6.8 ppg, 2.1 assists/g in 20.4 minutes/g) are also listed as point guards, and the term really is moot considering the way the Bucks run their offensive sets through 6’11” power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (27.7 ppg, 12.5 rebs/g, 5.9 assists/g in 2018-2019).

Coach Mike Budenholzer is looking for guys who can space the floor around Antetokounmpo, hit the open threes that are created by defenses crashing down on his dribble drives, and able to create off the dribble in space.

Jerome can do all of that.

Golden State

Until the Klay Thompson injury, this was my favored spot for Jerome, basically stepping into the role that will soon be vacated by Shaun Livingston (a career 6.3 ppg scorer), a big guard (6’7”) who gave teams a very different look from Steph Curry in the roughly 15 minutes a game he’d give you on a given night.

But now that Thompson seems likely on his way to missing the entirety of the 2019-2020 season with the torn ACL he suffered in the NBA Finals Game 6 loss to Toronto, wow.

The Warriors seem set to be going from dynasty to, for at least the coming season, the outside looking in as far as the playoffs are concerned.

Coach Steve Kerr basically has Curry (27.3 ppg, 5.2 assists/g) to build around offensively, since you have to expect that the Warriors will go ahead and extend Thompson even with the knowledge that he won’t be available next season.

Maybe DeMarcus Cousins (16.3 ppg in 2018-2019) sticks around, if the market for him isn’t what he expected when he signed the one-year, bargain-basement deal to rehab and win a ring that didn’t end up materializing.

Actually, Jerome could compete here for a starting spot alongside Curry.

With so much money being tied up with Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green (7.4 ppg, 7.3 rebs/g, 6.9 assists/g), it’s hard to see Golden State being very active on the free-agent market to find a short-term rental at the two spot.

I can even see Jerome more as a primary ball-handler, freeing Curry up to run defenders through screens, taking advantage of Jerome’s ability to penetrate and dish.

I’m starting to talk myself back into this one.

Story by Chris Graham


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