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.
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.
Virginia put on an offensive clinic in their beatdown of #9 ranked Virginia Tech last night, scoring 1.45 PPP. It was largely orchestrated by Ty Jerome, whose extraordinary skill-level and basketball IQ was on full display with 14 points and 12 assists. Here are some highlights. pic.twitter.com/4hywzYgwCd— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) January 16, 2019
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.
Ty Jerome to hire an agent and declare. Led ACC in assists, but also ranked 99th percentile out of spotups, shot 48% on catch-n-shoot. Landry Shamet of 2019?— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) April 15, 2019
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.
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.