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There were rumors in the weeks leading up to the 2022 NBA Draft that the Chicago Bulls were shopping the No. 18 pick and Coby White. There were Rudy Gobert trade rumors as well. On draft night, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago said the Bulls were “active in both move-up and move-down discussions.” Ultimately, though, they stood pat and selected guard Dalen Terry out of Arizona with the 18th pick.
Terry immediately made an impression with his energy and passion after getting drafted, which is something the Bulls clearly fell in love with during the pre-draft process. The Arizona product even claimed Chicago was the place he wanted to be after he worked out for the team before the NBA Draft Combine.
“I really wanted to be here,” Terry said, per Johnson. “It’s crazy. I called my agent immediately, right after (the workout). I was like, ‘That’s where I need to be.’ It’s great that they drafted me. Man, I’m so happy.”
Terry reiterated how “happy” he is to be a Bull and expressed excitement about playing with DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine. This is a great way to endear himself to the Bulls and their fans, and his energy is something that stood out during his time as a Wildcat. After a somewhat nondescript freshman campaign, the 6-foot-7 blossomed into a big-time role player as a sophomore on a loaded Arizona team that was one of the best teams in the country in 2021-22.
Terry’s numbers won’t wow you, thanks largely to his low usage rate on offense, but his versatility shines through. He averaged 8.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals in 27.8 minutes per game. The 19-year-old shot 50.2% from the field and 36.4% from 3-point range, albeit on relatively low volume at 2.1 3-point attempts per game.
Terry is going to have to work on that 3-point shot and prove he can knock them down from the longer NBA 3-point line. As noted in The Athletic’s scouting report from Darnell Mayberry and Sam Vecenie, his jumper will likely be his big “swing skill” in the league. It could take him time to develop his shot because of mechanical issues, if it develops into a weapon at all.
That might be a turnoff to some given the Bulls’ clear need for 3-point shooters, but he brings so many other attributes to the table that he could still become an effective player in Chicago even if the jumper doesn’t come along. He’s known for his defense after making the Pac-12 All-Defense Team this past season, and his 7-foot-1 wingspan should play nicely as a wing in the NBA. The Athletic’s scouting report describes him as an “enthusiastic” player who “just flies around out there” and makes things happen with his energy. He “plays with a ton of flair” and has that dog in him, which is becoming more and more valuable as teams seek out versatile players with toughness.
Offensively, while his usage was very low and there are those questions about the jumper, Terry is a terrific playmaker who had a stellar assist-to-turnover rate (1.4 turnovers per game). He can make crazy passes and will able to run the break along with the Bulls’ other athletes. When Lonzo Ball was healthy (there are still some concerns about this), Chicago had one of the most effective transition attacks, so Terry could make his presence felt in these situations right away.
Given the Bulls’ desire to win now, just how much Terry plays as a rookie will be something to monitor. Not many thought second-round pick Ayo Dosunmu would play a lot in his rookie season, but he would up being a key rotation player throughout 2021-22. Terry does share some attributes with Ayo, and they could make for a fun duo off the bench with their energy.
Fun just seems to be the operative word with Terry. While he has clear flaws that need improvement if he’s going to be a high-level player in the NBA, his infectious energy, motor and toughness will be welcomed on a Bulls team that needed more of it. The shaky 3-point shot is a concern, but the organization is surely confident in his ability to continue to develop it after he made strides with it this past season. Regardless of his jumper, the hope is Terry is a guy who can make enough winning plays to make up for the offensive shortcomings. There’s a lot to like about what he brings to the table, and he could easily become a fan favorite because of his personality.
The Bulls didn’t have any other picks and didn’t buy into the second round, but they did immediately make a move after the draft by signing Marquette’s Justin Lewis to a two-way contract, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. The fact that Lewis — a 6-foot-7, 245-pound forward — went undrafted surprised a number of draft experts, so perhaps this becomes a legitimate steal.
This past season at Marquette, Lewis averaged 16.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 44.0% from the field and 34.9% from 3-point range on 5.2 3-point attempts per game. Bringing in a big body at forward who has 3-point potential makes sense given Chicago’s roster construction, and the Bulls will look to develop him on that two-way contract.
Chicago will now look ahead to free agency next week. Re-signing LaVine is the top priority and is expected to happen. A Gobert trade could still be on the table, but if that doesn’t come to fruition, an upgrade in rim protection will be needed. General manager Marc Eversley admitted as much after the draft on Thursday night. The Bulls also need more 3-point shooting, whether or not a Gobert trade happens. It will be a hectic few weeks for Chicago.