Are We Finally About to Get the Dalen Terry Minutes We’ve Been Waiting For?

Dalen Terry of the Chicago Bulls
Dalen Terry of the Chicago Bulls

I can understand why Dalen Terry has spent most of his time in the G-League this season.

The Chicago Bulls came into the year expecting to compete at a high level. Throwing a rookie into the rotation from the jump doesn’t really coincide with that belief, particularly when you have several other experienced players already stationed on the bench. I was able to accept that even as they struggled to maintain a position inside the Play-In Tournament. But I can’t accept that anymore.

The Bulls have 25 games left of their NBA season. They are the 11th team in the Eastern Conference and are more likely than not going to lose their first-round pick to the Orlando Magic in the 2023 NBA Draft. While there is – technically – still a chance that they can make it through the Play-In Tournament, Basketball-Reference’s Playoff Probabilities sheet gives them just a 25.6 percent chance of that happening.

In other words, there is likely nothing beneficial to come out of this last month and a half of the NBA regular season. But the Bulls could change that by simply playing their No. 18 overall pick.

Out of the 58 players chosen in the 2022 NBA Draft, Terry has played the 11th-fewest minutes. Even when we consider the Bulls’ intentions to play competitive basketball, that’s pretty unusual for someone picked as high as he was. Ensuring that this number keeps trending up between now and the end of the year could be pivotal in helping him become a truly reliable rotation piece next season.

Indeed, the Bulls have to at least begin learning what they have with the youngster as they head toward a crucial offseason. They aren’t necessarily positioned to have much financial flexibility to fill holes on this roster, but what if Terry can actually be the answer to some of their questions? At this point, there is really no excuse for the Bulls not to further develop Terry with some real NBA minutes and evaluate that possibility.

I want to believe that head coach Billy Donovan is finally realizing this. While it may have come on the back of Derrick Jones Jr. suffering an injury, Terry was at least the one called upon to eat up 8 minutes in the Bulls’ 9-point loss to the Orlando Magic. I’m not about to declare those 8 minutes anything special, but it was blatantly clear that he provided the kind of energy, hustle, and transition talent that this Bulls team has desperately needed in recent weeks.

“To me, it looked like the game slowed down to him tonight. He made some really, really good decisions … I give him a lot of credit. He has not wavered at all with his work,” head coach Billy Donovan said of Terry’s performance.

Whether it be poking two steals away to ignite the fastbreak, forcing the offensive foul with some pesky ball pressure, or surprisingly catching Jalen Suggs off guard with the pass-fake to open the driving lane, there was enough jam-packed into Terry’s longest stint since November to leave me wanting more.

I’m hoping Donovan agrees. We’ll see what he does tonight as the Bulls visit the Pacers.

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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