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Making the Case for Ty Jerome's Future in Oklahoma City

Even after a rough season, the Thunder should consider keeping Ty Jerome around for the long haul.

Ty Jerome didn’t have the year he was hoping to have in Oklahoma City this season. While he was still a veteran presence and displayed high IQ on the floor, his shooting splits were down. As a 3-point specialist, Jerome shot just 29% from downtown.

While his splits were low, Jerome is still potentially a valuable piece moving forward for Oklahoma City. He’s a year removed from averaging 10.7 points per game while shooting 42.3% from 3-point range on five attempts.

Jerome had to man the second unit alone in a good portion of the games he played in, making some of the shots he took more difficult than last season. With a lack of playmakers on the floor, Jerome didn’t get a ton of clean, open 3-pointers.

The Virginia product is taller than most would expect, standing at 6-foot-5. While he’s not necessarily fast or athletic, he’s a very creative and smart player. He’s also an extremely accurate free-throw shooter, indicating this season could’ve been an extreme slump. Jerome finished the season at 80.9% from the line.

While he’s never going to be a starter, and might not even play significant minutes, there will always be a need for a true shooter on Oklahoma City’s roster. When the Thunder are ready to compete, they will need shooters at a value price to surround their stars. Having in-house shooters on team-friendly contracts could give the Thunder tons of wiggle room in free agency and building the team going forward.

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Take the Heat for example. Yes, Duncan Robinson was found from within the organization, but they got nowhere near a value contract for a premium shooter. Robinson is undoubtedly on a different level then Jerome, but he has been relegated to the bench in the NBA Playoffs. The Heat signed him to a five year $90 million deal, and he’s played just 14 minutes in five games against the 76ers.

If the Thunder aren’t looking to pay nearly $18 million per year for shooting needs, grooming current Thunder players would be the best route to go. It also helps that Jerome is a team guy who has helped OKC set the foundation of its culture moving forward.

Aside from the basketball aspect, Jerome also seems to be best friends with Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, too. It’s always a smart move to keep your star happy, and it can’t hurt team chemistry keeping a guy like Jerome. The team obviously has the utmost confidence in him, too, as Gilgeous-Alexander did call him the best shooter in the entire NBA.

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