The Cleveland Cavaliers made their fair share of moves to help bolster the roster in the 2023 NBA offseason.
They drafted forward Emoni Bates with the No. 49 selection in the 2023 NBA Draft. They added forward Max Strus through a sign-and-trade that shipped forwards Lamar Stevens and Cedi Osman to San Antonio. Guard Caris LeVert stuck around with the squad, signing a two-year, $32 million contract extension in June.
Cleveland added extra guard depth to its rotation when it signed guard Ty Jerome, a former Golden State Warrior who had spent the last few seasons with three different NBA franchises. The Cavs’ 2022-23 point guard rotation featured former guards Darius Garland, Ricky Rubio and Raul Neto. Neto, formerly of the Washington Wizards and Utah Jazz, signed a deal with Turkish club Fenerbahçe Beko this month.
Will Jerome fit with the Cavs’ 2023-24 guard rotation? How can he make an impact for Cleveland off the bench next season?
Ty Jerome, a former first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cavs in July.
Jerome played in 45 games and started in two for the Golden State Warriors last year, earning averages of 6.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and three assists per game. His Warriors training camp deal was converted into a two-way contract after he appeared in two preseason games for Golden State in 2022. He scored as many as 22 points and dished eight assists in a January win over the Cavs, hitting nine of his 13 shot attempts and three of his four tries from the 3-point line as the Warriors earned a 120-114 victory at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Ty Jerome won an NCAA title with Virginia in 2019. He cut the nets with a team that featured now-Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter and former Cavs two-way forward Mamadi Diakite. The former Second Team All-ACC selection averaged 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and seven assists during two Final Four games, according to a 2019 article from NBA TV Contributor Chris Dortch.
“You hear this saying a lot, but it’s as true of Ty as anybody,” Virginia head men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett said in 2019, via Dortch. “He has the ‘it’ factor. He’s got the ability to do things. He’s fearless and he’s so competitive. He’s got a mind for the game that’s as good as it gets.”
It never hurts to add another point guard who fits a more traditional role.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who faced the Cavs as a coach four consecutive times in the NBA Finals, detailed why Jerome was getting more minutes Golden State during a February interview with San Francisco’s 95.7 The Game.
“Some of it is positional,” Kerr said, via Audacy.com. “Ty Jerome is the most traditional point guard on our team. His assist-to-turnover ratio is off the charts. When he goes in, the game settles down. He gets us into our offense, he gets the ball moving.
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“He’s got a beautiful pick-and-roll game, that floater in the lane. The game just calms down when he’s out there. With Steph out, we desperately need Ty’s capability at point guard.”
The Cavs finished the 2022-23 season regular season with an average of 24.9 assists per game, putting them at 19th in the NBA behind the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers, according to NBA.com. Their regular season assist-to-turnover ratio of 18.6 put them on pace with the 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves at about seventh place in the league. Garland led the team in assists per game with 7.8 during the 2022-23 regular season, with guard Donovan Mitchell and LeVert taking the spots behind him.
The 6-foot-5 guard must fit well with a guard rotation featuring LeVert, Mitchell and Garland. Cavs guard Ricky Rubio announced he would be stepping away from basketball to focus on his mental health earlier this month. He did not specify how long he would be stepping away for, according to Cleveland.com Cavs reporter Chris Fedor.
Jerome’s increased effectiveness from the 3-point line could also be a massive help for Cleveland off the bench. Though his 3-point percentage fluctuated throughout his NBA career, he ended last season with an average of 38.9% from beyond the arc and hit as many as 42.3% of his tries from the perimeter during the 2020-21 season. He hit three of his four 3-point attempts during three games of the Warriors’ 2022-23 campaign.
Jerome may not play heavy minutes for the Cavs during his time in Cleveland. Still, he can be an effective option off the bench if he can carry over his decision-making and ability to impact the offense off the bench to the Cavs’ rotation.