Years in the NBA: Rookie
Position: Shooting Guard
Weight: 188 lbs
Key Stats: As a Junior in college, he averaged 20.7 points and 3.3 assists per game on 48.5/ 40.9/83.0% shooting. In Summer League, he shot 44.4% and averaged 13.7 points per game.
Contract Status: Rookie Contract, four years with the latter two being team options, first year $3 mil.
Jerome was ranked 18th overall among guards in his draft class, according to David Aldridge’s 2018 Draft Big Board, which is why many were surprised the Clippers grabbed him with the 13th pick. His peers, however, voted him second-most likely to have the “best career” (tied at 10% of the vote with Kevin Knox of the Knicks). Together, these competing narratives articulate the mystery around how well Jerome will be able to translate his collegiate excellence on the offensive end to the NBA level. At Boston College, he proved himself to be a smart player who could carry the offensive burden as well as capable of growing as a player over time (his shooting improved significantly after his first two years). His defense wasn’t great in college, however, and we shouldn’t expect that to change overnight, even though he is decently sized for a guard.
Overall, our Clips Nation staff was not very excited by the Clippers taking Jerome with the 13th pick (our median grade of the pick was around C+/B-), but it’s important to note that such grades are decided in respect to who else was available and the perceived value of taking a player at a certain pick. Ignoring tradeoffs and opportunity costs, I would argue that Jerome is a valuable player to have on the roster. If the Clippers remain competitive throughout the season, Jerome will not likely get significant minutes. However, he is always a loaded cannon as a scorer. The Clippers have had this type of player on the roster for several years now, whether it was Mo Williams, Jamal Crawford, or now Lou Williams. And, while Jerome is not yet the same level of scoring threat as those three, he has the capacity to be that some day in the future. In fact, he alluded to how valuable it will be to play behind Williams at the Clippers’ Media Day:
So, to sum it up, I would put it this way: Expect Jerome to score well when he gets the opportunity, but don’t expect those moments to come frequently. He is an investment towards a future roster that needs the next generation of the microwave, instant-offense sixth man.
And I say “a future roster” instead of “a future Clippers roster” intentionally because, with so many guards on the roster, there is a strong possibility that Jerome Robinson gets packaged into a trade. The Clippers might be sellers if the season starts off poorly and they decide to “tank” for another shot at the lottery, which would give Jerome some time to shine. Or, conversely, Jerome may get sent away as part of a deal that brings the Clippers a star, such as Jimmy Butler. I hope the Clippers find a way to keep him. Because shooting will always be valuable in the NBA, it’s important to hold onto it when you have it, especially at the value of a rookie contract.