Junior guard Ty Jerome has thrown his name in to enter the 2019 NBA Draft. How does he project into the NBA, and how does he fit with the Philadelphia 76ers?
Fun Fact: Ty Jerome’s middle name is Jeremy.
The lowest of lows. The highest of highs. From the first 1 seed to ever be knocked off by a 16 seed to a national championship, Ty Jerome has had quite the interesting college career. Now he heads to the NBA draft combine with an agent, meaning his college days are officially over and he’ll be an NBA player in 2019.
Jerome is currently projected as a late first or early second round pick, a range where the Sixers currently have three picks. Should he be one of them? Yes. I don’t bury the lede.
Ty Jerome the College Player
Jerome chose Virginia over a host of other interested schools, including Philly’s Temple and Villanova and a slew of academic powerhouses such as Columbia, Harvard, Northwestern, and Stanford. He spent his freshman season as a sharpshooting backup combo guard who couldn’t crack into the veteran lineup. He spent the next two seasons as a starting mainstay.
I’d love to sit here and make Ty Jerome sound like the most interesting player ever, but that would be doing a disservice to both him and his team. Virginia is perhaps the most team-oriented team in the entire NCAA on both sides of the floor, and Ty Jerome did what he was supposed to do.
An elite level shooter…
Over his two starting seasons, Jerome played 32.4 mpg, shot 39% from three, 79% from the line, and maintained a near 3:1 A:TO. He grabbed 12% of available DRBs and had a 3.2 STL%, an absolutely sterling number that indicates high defensive potential at the next level. All of his numbers improved from his sophomore season to his junior season except for FT% and STL%, but both dropped from elite to still very good, so there is not significant reason for concern.
I’d love to say more about how he was a big time player, or how he got lots and lots of accolades, but he was overshadowed by the team system on the court and by his not nearly as good teammate in draft and media circles (but this isn’t about him). Jerome did what he was supposed to do, when he was supposed to do it, and that matters.
Here is our PFO Ultimate highlight reel of Ty Jerome’s junior campaign…
Where can we expect Ty Jerome to go in the 2019 NBA Draft?
It’s still early in the process, but I don’t anticipate Jerome significantly rising from the combine. If he does, it will be due to good workouts and interviews.
The Athletic: 35
All of these rankings are far too low. Why? Well, read on.
Ty Jerome’s Strengths
Literally everything related to basketball. Okay, that may be a bit of hyperbole, but finding an actual basketball-related weakness in his game or in any scouting report of his game is difficult. Why did I bring up the academic schools he was accepted to earlier? Because it shows in every facet of his game. Jerome has insanely fast mental processing, some of the best I’ve seen at the college level. He is an extremely intelligent player who reads and reacts before actions have even started.
Makin’ it rain
Offense: Jerome is extremely versatile on the offensive end. He can operate as a primary ballhandler and initiator, taking great care of the ball and setting up his teammates with passes from anywhere to anywhere. Or he can operate as the motion man, curling off screens and hitting catch-and-shoot jumpers. He can make a living in a corner or on the wing. He can play any position other than C on offense, but if you asked him to pick-and-roll, I’m sure he’d figure out a way to make that work too.
As a shooter, Jerome already has unquestionable NBA range. His shot form is extremely consistent from shot to shot, and he has the results to show for it. He can hit jumpers off the bounce when necessary, especially if he is not being played tight. When he is played tight, he still has the ability to drive and either draw and kick or pull up on the recovering defender.
He’s on fire from three!
Defense: It’s always hard to evaluate defense in the pack line, which is why people think Hunter is a good defender (right, not about him, sorry). Jerome is an elite team defender. He is constantly reading everything happening on the court, jumping passing lanes, getting his hand in driving lanes, helping on penetration, and doing everything else necessary to ensure successful possessions.
On the ball, he navigates screens well and flips his hips to guide his man to his help. Despite standing only 6’5″ 195, Jerome was often tasked with defending the post and he battled hard for position, denying the ball to bigger players and poking it away when they received it. He should be able to guard 1 through 3 and will fight hard if stuck on a switch with a bigger guy.
He has very quick, very accurate hands and anticipates the offensive player’s movements before they even happen. On many occasions, he disrupted transition offense and in bounds plays. He’s never going to be a top 5 defensive player in the league, but he will be the best or second best perimeter defender on just about any team he goes to.
Ty Jerome’s Weaknesses
He’s white. Er, sorry, unathletic.
That’s really it. Find any scouting report, and the only real weakness you’ll see is lack of NBA athleticism. Which just so misunderstands both what qualifies as NBA athleticism and what is actually important to being a good basketball player. Back in 2014, there was a huge debate between athletic freak Andrew Wiggins and “worst athlete in the NBA” Slow-mo Kyle Anderson.
Kyle Anderson has been one of the top 5 SF defenders for four years running. Andrew Wiggins…hasn’t been. Anderson has proven to be a significantly better player despite being 0% SPARQ to Wiggins’ 100%. Why? Because athleticism and basketball quality are not nearly as related as people seem to think it is. Just ask Nikola Jokic how much a lack of “NBA athleticism” matters.
Athleticism and ball handling
All that being said, Jerome does have a few nitpicky weaknesses. He doesn’t get to the line as often as you’d like to see from a primary ballhandler. He may struggle to finish on drives against set defenses. His shot release speed is good but not elite – not really a weakness, but worth noting nonetheless.
He’s never going to be a massive volume scorer, but that’s not his role at the next level. He probably won’t be able to fully contain the elite elite scoring options, but nobody outside a few very special players can, so no reason to hold it against him too much. Again, those are nitpicks. He doesn’t have any major weaknesses once you get over his largely irrelevant lack of athleticism.
Jerome is one of the most classic underdrafted archetypes: the unathletic, overly skilled player. These guys get underdrafted every year despite the fact that they consistently succeed while their athletic, underskilled cohorts fail. This year, that could work very strongly to the Sixers’ benefit. He doesn’t have anything in particular he needs to improve at the next level, he’ll just need to continue to develop and refine the skills he already has. He should be able to step in as a backup PG or starting SG on day one and a starting PG before the end of his rookie deal.
Ty Jerome’s Fit with the 76ers
Jerome would be the ideal backup PG for this team given his ability to play off-ball as well. He is ready to contribute right out of the gate. He could potentially even step in for JJ Redick should the team need that. Jerome could fit with any team, but he fits particularly well on a team that really needs quality guard play. He would be an immediate upgrade over TJ, bringing everything TJ does on the court, but in a much bigger, much better package. The Sixers could really use that.
How do you feel about Ty Jerome on the Sixers? Let us know by leaving a comment below or reaching out on Twitter!