Ty Jerome itching to get to Phoenix to begin NBA career

ty jeromeOK, so, Ty Jerome was drafted by the Phoenix Suns, except that, he wasn’t, technically, so he can’t play with his new team in the NBA Summer League until he can.

Got it?

“It’s kind of annoying, how I can’t play in the first summer league game,” Jerome told The Athletic in an interview for a story published Wednesday. “That stuff is just kind of annoying. I’m just anxious and excited to get out there and participate, have a press conference and be around the guys. I’m just in New York working out until the time comes.”

So, no, Jerome can’t join the Suns Summer League team until July 6, the start of the new league year.

He may only end up missing one game – Phoenix’s Friday, July 5 opener against the Denver Nuggets.

The Suns, who also signed UVA alum Jack Salt for its Summer League team this week, have three other games on the Summer League schedule – Sunday, July 7, against the New York Knicks; Tuesday, July 9, against the Memphis Grizzlies, and Wednesday, July 10, against the San Antonio Spurs.

Jerome is chomping at the bit to get to Phoenix, for obvious reasons, but in the meantime, the story in The Athletic reported that he was headed to Charlottesville on Thursday to work out with former UVA teammate De’Andre Hunter, who was taken with the fourth pick in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks.

Technically, again, Hunter was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers, who traded the pick to New Orleans, which then in turn flipped the pick to the Hawks, meaning Hunter is in the same boat as Jerome in terms of when he can join his Summer League team.

Future teammate Cameron Johnson, who was taken with the 11th pick in the first round by Phoenix, through a trade with Minnesota, is also being held in waiting.

Johnson, who played at North Carolina, was a bit of a surprise as a lottery pick, but Jerome, taken later in the first round, at No. 24, is high on the 6’9” perimeter sharpshooter.

“Everyone who says he isn’t worthy of the No. 11 pick probably haven’t studied him enough,” Jerome said. “He’s not a good shooter, he’s a great shooter. He’s a player that can stretch the floor, super quick release, he shoots it at such a high clip, and it’s really impressive, honestly.”

Johnson figures to compete for playing time at the three with incumbent small forward Kelly Oubre Jr., who averaged 16.9 points per game in 40 games with Phoenix, and just received a qualifying offer from the Suns that allows the team to match any offers he may receive in free agency.

The incumbent at the two in Phoenix is Devin Booker, the four-year pro who averaged 26.6 points per game in 2018-2019.

Jerome will get a shot to compete for the starting point guard spot. The incumbent is Tyler Johnson, a five-year pro who averaged 10.9 points and 2.9 assists, who the Suns acquired in a mid-season trade with Miami.

Johnson, at 6’4”, is more of a combo guard, and there is talk that Phoenix might be in the market for a point guard in free agency, with Ricky Rubio, Darren Collison, Rajon Rondo and Patrick Beverley among the potential options, and $13.2 million in cap space to play with.

You can probably now see why Jerome is itching to get started in Phoenix.

“I think I can help them win,” Jerome said. “That’s the biggest thing I do at every level – I’ve always been a winner. I think just going there, compete, make shots, get other guys shots, just contribute to wins.”

Story by Chris Graham

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