It’s a new year and it looks like there’s a new San Antonio Spurs team showing up as well. They’ve turned around their abysmal start to the season and are now consistently playing like a potential playoff team. They’re currently 21-17 after a win against the Celtics and are projected to pick outside of the lottery. However, this week’s prospect watch focuses on a potential second-rounder in Virginia junior Ty Jerome.
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard is one of the more intriguing players in this draft as he is going to be a bit older than most of the other entrants and that could work against him. His ceiling is not going to be as high as some of the other players available, but he does have a lot of experience and is a great defender, which the Spurs will like.
Here are his stats so far this season:
- 14.2 PPG, 4.3 APG. 4.5 RPG, 2.0 SPG
- 44.8 FG%, 42.6 3P%, 74.3 FT%
- 124.3 ORtg, 79.5 DRtg, 26.5 PER
Jerome is clearly a great defender, but it’s not due to any athleticism he may possess. He is probably an average athlete in the NBA at best, but he has a high basketball IQ and knows how to position himself to disrupt passing lanes — as evidenced by his steal numbers. He knows how to bait other offensive players into making bad passes and he takes advantage of that more often than not. He is also a smart team defender, but he does have a smaller room for error in that regard because of his lack of speed.
Offensively, the Virginia guard has already shown some improvement shooting the ball, especially from deep. He is a more willing three-point shooter, which is a major difference from last season. More often than not he would try to penetrate the lane and throw up a floater rather than taking a three that was fairly open. Now that he has the choice to do either, he becomes a more unpredictable player, which will always be to his advantage.
While Jerome could carve out a solid role on offense, and even in certain spots on defense, he will absolutely have to improve his ball handling if he wants to get playing time with the Spurs. They already have a few guys who are off-ball guards who can get their own shot and have a tight enough handle play at the same time as the other point guards. That just means Jerome will have to be even better at the other roles he would play for the team. He’s definitely worth taking a shot on in the second round if it still makes sense for the Spurs at that time.