The Golden State Warriors have found success in the past by maximizing their roster with two-way contracts, and this season is no different.
Anthony Lamb (24) and Ty Jerome (25) have been two key-contributors so far this season. Lamb has carved out a nice role within the Warriors bench unit. In 28 games so far, Lamb has shown his ability to hit the open shots, as well as flash his defensive IQ. While Jerome has played 20 games, and is a playmaking guard that can score at different levels on the floor.
Even though both have played key roles so far, the Warriors must make a decision about their contracts.
The two-way contract was introduced in the 2017 NBA season. This allowed NBA teams to sign two extra players to their roster, but there are stipulations. This player will be on a G-League roster, as well as an NBA roster. They can play 50 games in a season, once they reach their cap, they will be sent down to the G-League, or they will be converted into a full-NBA contract. Players on two-way contracts are not eligible to play in the postseason.
While it is still early on in the NBA season, the Warriors have faced their fair share of adversity thus far. With injuries to Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins, the young Dubs have had to step up recently. Lamb can appear in just 22 more games, while Jerome has 30 more games. With Curry and Wiggins out for the foreseeable future, it’s clear that Lamb and Jerome’s services will be needed.
With that being said, which player is a better fit with a fully healthy Warriors squad?
Prior to joining the Warriors on a two-way contract, Lamb played on two G-League teams (Canton Charge and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers) and two NBA teams (Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs).
Lamb can stretch the floor and help out on the defensive end. He is an above-average shooter with a funky release. Lamb definitely benefits from being on the floor with Curry, Klay Thompson, JordanPoole and Draymond Green. Their gravity gives Lamb all he can eat from the three point line.
Lamb is switchable on the defensive end. His ability to step in and take charges is also a valuable asset to have. He makes smart rotations and has shown his potential to be a really solid role player.
Lamb is a smart player on both ends, but he does have a tendency to force passes, especially late in the shot clock. Instead of dumping the ball off to shot makers like Klay, Curry or Poole, he can force a cross-court pass which gets stolen every now and then. Lamb is a viable option that could definitely help in a pinch during the playoffs.
One could say that Lamb is the perfect fit for the Warriors. He can stretch the floor and play defense. He was created to play off the Warriors bench.
As a former national champion with the University of Virginia, Jerome brings championship experience. He has bounced around the NBA so far throughout his short NBA career. He has played for two G-League teams (Northern Arizona Suns and the Oklahoma City Blue) and two NBA teams (Phoenix Suns and the Oklahoma City Thunder).
Jerome can act as the second playmaker when Steph Curry heads to the bench, allowing Jordan Poole to play with more freedom. He runs the pick and roll well by making good, quick decisions.
He is also a good shooter, as well as a decent finisher with a nice floater. Over his last seven games, Jerome is averaging 11.2 points a game, while shooting 50.8% from the field and 43.4% from three. Jerome also has good size for a point guard as he stands at 6’5.
One of the major knocks on Jerome is his defense. He tends to be on the softer side. He gets bullied at times by stronger players. Jerome does have a tendency to die on screens as well. On the bright side, he does come with energy on the defensive end.
On the offensive side of the ball, Jerome does take ill-advised shots from time to time. He does like the fast break pull-up three, which is OK if you’re Steph Curry, but for Ty Jerome, that’s a no no.
When it’s all said and done, both Lamb and Jerome can be proud of the roles they played on the Warriors. They have both displayed skills that are easily translatable to other teams. But only one player can earn a full NBA contract.
Jerome seems to be the better player because of what he can bring to the Warriors offensively, but the Warriors only need him while Steph Curry is out. Other than that, Poole man’s the bench unit, so Steph’s return makes Jerome expendable.
Lamb is a better fit long-term for the Warriors. His ability to hit the open shot, as well as make smart defensive rotations make him a tantalizing prospect for the Warriors bench unit. So I believe Lamb gets his contract converted into a full-NBA deal.