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Can Ty Jerome dunk? An investigation

The Warriors waived future dunk champion Mac McClung when Ty Jerome became available. While the two-way player has been valuable, it’s not clear the 6’5” guard can actually throw down.

Washington Wizards v Golden State Warriors
Ty Jerome points at the rim where he likely just made a simple layup.
Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

This weekend, former Warriors Summer League standout Mac McClung thrilled the All-Star Saturday Night crowd with a master class in slam dunks, earning himself three scores of 50 and winning the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest. But McClung did it representing the Philadelphia 76ers, not Golden State, because the Warriors chose point guard Ty Jerome over him in training camp.

Jerome has been solid for the Warriors as a two-way player, shooting 40.8% from three-point range and taking care of the ball well. He’s got the second-best offensive rating on the team, behind Kevon Looney, and he’s played well enough that the Warriors may convert his two-way deal to a regular contract, especially with Steph Curry and Gary Payton II out with injuries.

But there’s one thing Jerome hasn’t done that McClung excels at: Dunking. According to Basketball Reference, Jerome hasn’t dunked a single time since entering the league in 2019. Not for the Phoenix Suns, not for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and not for the Warriors.

It’s not clear he ever dunked at the University of Virginia, either. A Cavaliers message board post asked, “Have you ever seen Ty Jerome dunk?” The original poster said they didn’t remember seeing Jerome dunking in a game, but theorized it could have happened in a practice or scrimmage. They conducted a thorough investigation: “I googled it, and the only instance I found was a clip from the 2K20 video game,” he wrote.

No one on the board could definitively say they’d seen it happen, though “hooyorkcity” wrote, “I think pre season of our national championship season there was footage of Jerome dunking in practice.” Again, he thinks he saw it, but no one is sure.

The same is true with a Reddit thread that asks, “Is there currently any NBA player that can’t dunk?” The consensus is that Jerome should be able to dunk. “dogtoothman” argues that Jerome’s combine numbers prove that he’s capable of it:

“Ty Jerome can definitely dunk. Standing reach of 8’2”. Max vert 31.5. The numbers kind of prove that he can unless there’s a phobia I don’t know about”

But Virginia alum “oedipusrex0” says “He prolly can dunk, but was a year ahead of him at UVA and watched every game and can’t remember him dunking.”

According to play-by-play data from Jerome’s sophomore and junior years, Jerome did not dunk, though the information is not available for his first season.

Jerome is clearly not the most athletic player, but he’s 6’5” in shoes, has a 6’4” wingspan, and his hands seem sufficiently large at an 8.25” width and a 9.5” length. (The NBA combine does a lot of weird measurements.) So maybe he just doesn’t like dunking, or he fell once, or he thinks floaters are classier.

We investigated many Jerome mix tapes and highlight videos, and we didn’t see a dunk. So why are we examining it now? There’s really no other justification for posting the video of McClung’s dominant dunk session in Salt Lake City without it. So enjoy! You will never see Ty Jerome doing any of these things. But he’s still a good player!

McClung got a suspiciously-timed two-way deal with Philly four days before the contest, perhaps on the direction of Adam Silver, but his dunking is clearly All-NBA caliber.

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