Bulls

Why the Bulls should take Ty Jerome with the No. 38 pick

Why the Bulls should take Ty Jerome with the No. 38 pick

Even if the Bulls are able to add one of the their preferred PG prospects with the No. 7 overall pick, they will still be looking at Kris Dunn or Ryan Arcidiacono as their backup point until they are able to acquire someone else in free agency. With that in mind, bringing in a quality, high-IQ, experienced PG prospect with the No. 38 overall pick would be a wise decision for the Bulls. This brings us to clever Virginia guard Ty Jerome.

Strengths:

On Wednesday’s Bulls Talk Podcast, John Paxson said “our young bigs need to get some easy baskets.....where they can just roll to the rim and have a point guard who can get the ball to them lob it up there and they get a couple dunks a game, things like that.” Jerome happens to excel when it comes to executing that exact type of pass and is an impressive playmaker overall.

Jerome lead the ACC in assists and helped run a methodical Virginia offense that ranked second in the nation in offensive efficiency per Ken Pom. He can find find big men cutting toward the basket in pick-and-rolls. The reason Jerome is so skilled with his pick-and-roll passing is the timing, he is willing to wait a few seconds longer than most when moving side-to-side to create a longer window of opportunity for the pass.

His height helps him tremendously as a playmaker, as he is able to put nice touch on post entry passes, and usually has no issue seeing over the defense. But an even bigger strength than his size is his decision-making, as you rarely see Jerome even attempt a pass that doesn’t have a high success rate.

That doesn’t mean the New York-native won’t occasionally unleash some flashy assists, just that his game is so successful because it is rooted in the fundamentals.

Jerome is also an unbelievable shooter, and that oh-so-enticing package of passing and shooting prowess is part of the reason he has a wide range of outcomes for draft night.

Jerome shot 65 percent at the rim, 45.7 percent on short midrange shots and 40.5 percent on NBA range 3-point shots, per data available at The Stepien. These figures are great and help further explain how he posted a top-10 offensive rating (120.4) in the ACC.

The success Jerome had in the short midrange area is the most encouraging thing to me when forecasting his NBA future. NBA defenses will play his jumper aggressively and force him into the paint where there is more confined space. Jerome has the craft and guile to get too his floater and should be able to punish bigs in space with decent success.
 

Weaknesses:

Notice that above I said Jerome would be able to attack bigs (primarily on switches but primary matchups against some personnel) decent success, not great success. This gets into Jerome’s biggest weakness, which is his athleticism and wingspan.

He doesn’t have a ton of burst or explosiveness, and can really struggle moving laterally. Jerome greatly benefitted from playing in a pack-line defense that allowed him to sell out on stopping drives. From his three years at Virginia, he is naturally wired to force the outside shot, but trying to hard to deny the drive at the NBA level will have him in trouble often.

Jerome actually has a minus wingspan, measured in 2015 at 6-foot-2.5 despite him being 6-foot-5. This opens up a bevy of issues, including a variety of bench scorers being able to shoot over closeouts by Jerome with ease.

While Ty is a physical enough defender that I expect him to succeed, it doesn’t bode well for his NBA future that RJ Barrett was able to blow by him on drives many times in the 2018-19 season. Barrett is not an elite athlete-- as  our Kendall Gill likes to remind us--does not have great left-right burst and is a rather rigid athlete.

Translation: If Jerome gets destroyed off the dribble by the RJ Barrett’s of the world, what happens when he is trying to stay in front of guards like Malik Monk or Ish Smith?

Long term outlook:

Jerome has a wide range of outcomes on draft night because despite his obvious flaws, his strengths and overall profile suggest a player who will last in the NBA. He was a three-year player at Virginia under Tony Bennett. He was the starter on the Cavaliers 2018-19 National Championship team and his all-around game was a huge part of their run.

He may not have the athletic tools to make him a can’t-miss prospect, but you can’t teach feel for the game and Jerome has one of the highest basketball-IQs in this draft class. The fact that he will likely be able to pick up defensive schemes quickly--but will default to denying penetration--would immediately endear him to Jim Boylen. Kris Dunn-Jerome bench units would play solid perimeter defense and provide much offensive firepower than Dunn-Shaq Harrison units. If Boylen decided to play Jerome and LaVine together, Zach would have more space to attack the basket with Jerome’s NBA 3-point range keeping defenses honest.

Some analysts think Jerome is a late first round pick, others think he is an early second rounder and even fewer think he might not stick in the NBA. One thing we all can agree on, is that Jerome would be more than worth a flier for the Bulls should he be on the board at pick No. 38.

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With revamped roster, Bulls begin quest for playoffs on road vs. Hornets

With revamped roster, Bulls begin quest for playoffs on road vs. Hornets

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- On April 28, 2017, the Celtics ended the Bulls’ lone season of what Rajon Rondo brilliantly called “The Three Alphas,” closing out the first-round playoff series in six games.

As the Bulls begin their 54th season in franchise history Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C., only Denzel Valentine and Cristiano Felicio remain from that roster.

When John Paxson first succeeded Jerry Krause in April 2003, he took two years to similarly flip the roster, keeping only Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry.

This makeover was Paxson’s doing, beginning with the June 2017 trade of Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves. His last complete overhaul produced 10 playoff appearances in 11 seasons, albeit with only five series victories in that span.

Wednesday night begins the quest for sustained success.

“We have revamped this roster in a big way and a way in that we can look at this team and we see real talent,” Paxson said back on the team’s media day in late September. “We see a versatile roster. We see depth on this roster. We see some leadership on this roster which we haven’t had.

“And because of that our goals this year are really simple. First and foremost, we want to compete at a high, high level. And when you compete at a high level, you have an ability to be a playoff-caliber team. And we set that as a goal. (Coach) Jim (Boylen) talks about it. He’s not afraid of it. And our guys through their work have shown us that they want to make that commitment. So we feel good about that.”

There’s plenty to feel good about during a preseason. That’s when each team’s regular-season record is unblemished. The tests start for real against the Hornets, followed by Friday’s visit to Memphis.

Four of the Bulls’ first five games are on the road but all are against teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season. Saturday’s home opener is against the defending NBA champion Raptors, who defeated the Pelicans in overtime Tuesday night in their first game since Kawhi Leonard left for the Clippers.

Plenty has to go right for the Bulls to make the jump from 22 victories to the playoffs. Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen need to step towards stardom. Tomas Satoransky and Thad Young need to continue being the low-maintenance complementary pieces they've shown to be during their careers. Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. need to stay healthy. Coby White and Kris Dunn need to contribute off the bench.

Still, the bottom portion of the Eastern Conference playoff picture is wide open. The Bulls know this. It’s why Boylen indeed gave voice to the goal on that same September media day.

“Our goals for the season are to make the playoffs,” Boylen said then. “And every day to prepare like we’re a playoff team. Every day to work like we’re a playoff-bound team. I’m excited for that. I think that’s the only way to do it. There’s no way that we were going to stand up here and say, ‘Hey, I hope we can win 10 more games or we hope we can be better.’ We want to get to the mountain top.’’

The games count for real starting Wednesday. It’s time to start climbing.

Wendell Carter Jr. is now 6 feet, 9 inches---and other Bulls' height adjustments

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USA Today

Wendell Carter Jr. is now 6 feet, 9 inches---and other Bulls' height adjustments

With player heights long a topic of question and debate, the NBA informed teams that all players must be measured by a team physician this training camp.

It’s all part of the league’s push towards transparency, which includes detailed reports on officiating and other initiatives.

So who grew and who shrank among the Bulls?

Wendell Carter Jr. dropped from 6 feet, 10 inches to 6-foot-9, which will do nothing to change the narrative that he's an undersized big man. Kris Dunn moved from 6-4 to 6-3. Daniel Gafford isn’t 6-11, as first advertised when drafted, but 6-10. And Denzel Valentine is no longer 6-6 but 6-4.

The Bulls even pushed down Coby White’s flamboyant hairstyle and discovered he’s 6-4, not 6-5.

As for those who grew, well, Zach LaVine’s All-Star candidacy now features him as a 6-6 guard, not 6-5. New big man Luke Kornet is really big; he’s 7-2, not 7-1. And Shaq Harrison somehow grew from 6-4 to 6-7, although only for one day.

Asked Wednesday how tall he is, Harrison said, "6-4."

Told that both NBA.com and Bulls.com listed him at 6-7 on Tuesday, Harrison laughed.

"They probably got me confused with Chandler Hutchison," he said. "I wish I was 6-7."

That’s the official Bulls’ roster. 

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