New Bull on the Block: Dissecting Dalen Terry

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On June 23rd, 2022, the Chicago Bulls selected Dalen Terry with the 18th pick in the National Basketball League (NBA) draft. A relatively unknown player, hearing Terry’s name as Chicago’s newest player came as a surprise to many. After Tari Eason was taken with the 17th pick, it seemed that Chicago may try to trade down to add extra value to their pick. Instead, Chicago went with a player they fell in love with before the draft. While Terry’s stats from the University of Arizona may not impress most, his size and potential should be enough to make Chicago fans excited.

Initial Impression

Interviewing skills are a necessity even in the NBA. Terry has seemingly mastered those skills, as a zoom interview with him left Chicago’s coaching staff confident about their upcoming decision. Of the qualities he displayed, the most noticeable is his lively spirit. Terry has an energy about him that will shine through in the locker room and on the court.

One meeting with Terry was enough to determine he was willing to do whatever it takes to help a team. This virtue will only add to the brothership that the Chicago rosters already possess. Another virtue in Terry’s favor is that he wants to be in Chicago; following his interview, Terry called his agent to express his interest in playing for them. Terry’s excitement to be a part of Chicago’s historic franchise was captured in a photo moments after being drafted.

Offensive upside

Offensively, Terry was used sparingly by the Arizona Wildcats. Coming off a season averaging 8 points per game, Terry will be working on a variety of offensive skills this season. Coaches would like to see Terry develop the ability to create his own offense. Using his 6’7 frame at the guard position should give him an advantage over other guards.

Terry possesses the same height as forwards Kwahi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. Playing at the guard spot will promote taking opposing guards to the inside or creating space with his length. It is also possible that Terry will see minutes at the small forward position. Chicago’s roster would also benefit from Terry improving his three-point shot; adding effectiveness to his shot off the dribble would be even more advantageous.

During the 2021-22 season, Terry shot 36.4% from behind the arc. Terry will immediately be used for the offense on transition. Terry last two years in Arizona proved that his speed and ability to play above the rim result in points. When in the game, Terry will also be used to facilitate the ball. An average of almost 4 assists per game shows that Terry is a proficient passer with a feel for the defense. While Terry is not an offensive liability, his presence will be undeniable on the other side of the ball.

Dominant Defense

Terry cemented himself as one of the better defenders in the 2022 draft class; this was reflected by his selection to the Pac-12 all-defense team. Terry’s 7’0 wingspan and athletic ability allow him to be suffocating defensively. Taking the ball away 1.2 times per game, Terry’s ability to create turnovers complements his floor running ability. By drafting a player with such high defensive prowess, it is clear that Chicago is looking to replicate the success they had last season.

Before they were plagued with injuries, the defensive duo of Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball lead the Bulls to some impressive wins. After some physical and skill development, Terry will be able to guard spots 1 through 4. While his perimeter defense is already at an elite level, there is concern that larger players will be able to beat him on the inside. Drafting Terry considerably upgraded their defense for the upcoming season and should be prepared for him to learn quickly.

Final Thoughts

Even though Terry was not the pick many Chicago fans wanted them to make, he could still prove to be a valuable player as early as this season. His defensive expertise alone will be enough to earn meaningful minutes on the court. Adding depth to the guard spot, Chicago will have strong defensive players on the court for 40 minutes.

Dependent on how Terry’s offensive skills progress, he has the potential to grow into a high-caliber player. An obstacle that will not be in Terry’s way is laziness; his passion for the game is used as fuel for his work ethic. By next season, Chicago will recognize the quality of the player they drafted with the 18th pick.

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