2019 NBA Draft: 5 prospects who can help a team right now

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images /
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Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images /

4. Ty Jerome, PG, Virginia

Height: 6’5” | Weight: 195 | Age: 21

Draft range: 25-35

A unifying theme around less-hyped prospects who’ve had remarkable college careers and boast at least one elite skill is that they lack the high-upside athleticism to become more than role players in the NBA.

The 2019 NBA Playoffs have been a crash course on how vital it is to have role players who can actually stay on the floor during the playoffs, with the Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks all serving as fantastic exhibits of that.

Former Virginia Cavalier and NCAA champion Ty Jerome might not even hear his name called in the first round, but he’ll likely play in the NBA for a decade. He seems set to become the latest entry in the group of awesome upperclass college point guards who the NBA perpetually undervalues simply because they are “old” and can’t jump out of the building.

Spencer Dinwiddie, Malcolm Brogdon, Monte Morris and most recently, Jalen Brunson, have all made talent evaluators kick themselves over the past few years as these steady-handed junior and senior point guards routinely fall out of the first round.

Listen to any scout’s take on Jerome and you’ll have déjà vu. An anonymous scout summed up Jerome’s game last week in a piece for The Athletic:

"“What he lacks in athleticism and quickness, he makes up for in IQ, shooting, passing, decision-making and intangibles. He’s someone you want as a backup point guard. You wonder how he’ll defend at the next level, but he’s always going to give effort. He’s gotten better over the past few years in terms of his body, leadership, and his overall play. I think he’s your prototypical backup because he’s smart and you know what you’re getting out of him.”"

Despite having good height for a guard at 6’5.5”, Jerome’s negative wingspan (6’4”) will limit his abilities to break through as a starter. However, the help defense instincts he showed at Virginia –which has produced a handful of positive defenders lacking in athleticism (Joe Harris, Mike Scott, Malcolm Brogdon) precisely because of how well head coach Tony Bennett teaches fundamentals — should allow Jerome to stay on the floor covering most shooting guards without being repeatedly exposed.

On the offensive end of the floor, aside from his calm floor general demeanor, Jerome does not get enough credit as a knockdown shooter. Jerome’s career shooting splits in college are .435/.392/.788.  Lucky for him, he’s been showing off that touch in team workouts.

One final tidbit: Jerome’s junior season stats (2018-19) are remarkably similar to former Virginia Cavalier Malcolm Brogdon’s junior year:

  • Jerome: 13.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 5.5 APG in 33.9 MPG, 23.4 percent usage rate
  • Brogdon: 14.0 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 2.4 APG in 32.5 MPG, 25.9 percent usage rate

If Jerome’s NBA career goes anything like Brogdon’s, he’ll be a steal.