2. Ty Jerome
In last year’s draft, the Milwaukee Bucks added a backup point guard who could handle and shoot, and they have high hopes that Donte DiVincenzo can start the season healthy and make an impact for the team this upcoming season. Even so, it may benefit the Bucks to follow the exact same blueprint, adding another smooth-shooting combo guard from the national title winner.
Virginia’s Ty Jerome was not expected to declare after his junior season, but a strong year on top of a championship win propelled him into the NBA Draft, as it does for many such players (read: DiVincenzo, Omari Spellman, Tony Bradley, Tyus Jones, Kyle Guy, etc). Jerome draws comparisons to another former Virginia guard, Malcolm Brogdon, who has done a thing or two for the Bucks these past three years.
Jerome’s best ability his shooting, something the Bucks specifically — and the league in general — can make much use of. He hit 39.9 percent of his 3-pointers this past season and is comfortable shooting from all over the court. While he probably isn’t a primary creator at the next level, his handle and passing are strong enough for him to be a great secondary option. Playing alongside another ball-handler — Khris MIddleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brogdon — would be a great setup for Jerome.
Jerome competes defensively, knowing where to be and communicating with his teammates — everything one would expect from a multi-year Virginia guard. His athleticism is on the lower end for draft prospects, however, and he has a negative wingspan (6’4”, compared to his 6’5” height). That means he will never be a huge asset on defense, even if he doesn’t kill you.
There’s a lot of uncertainty over the next couple of seasons for the Bucks’ backcourt, starting with Brogdon as a restricted free agent this summer. George Hill has a partial guarantee this season as the last on his deal, and Milwaukee reserves such as Sterling Brown and Pat Connaughton are not on long-term deals. Adding an experienced guard such as Jerome who can space the floor and do all of the things one needs from a backup guard would be a strong use of the 30th pick.