So ... How About That Dalen Terry?

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So, Where the Heck Was Dalen Terry This Season?

Chicago Bulls

Finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Paolo Banchero, the Chicago Bulls’ Dalen Terry turned heads from the moment he stepped on the court.

Oh, how I wish that could have been the lede!

Last June, Dalen Terry became just the fourth player (and second first-rounder) drafted by the Arturas Karnisovas-led Bulls front office. The Chicago Bulls selected the Arizona product with the No. 18 overall pick. All things considered, it wasn’t hard to see why the Bulls may have been interested in Terry’s potential.

A versatile wing with excellent length and an undeniable feel for the game, he showed flashes of being a highly productive two-way player in college. He’d often serve as a de facto facilitator, threading the needle on tough passes and seemingly always knowing where his teammates plan to go. While he may lack a reliable jumper, Terry has also shown the ability to get downhill and finish strong around the rim.

Combine his frame with great lateral quickness and a never-ending supply of energy, and Terry projects to be an extremely valuable defender. He’s the type to consistently jump passing lanes and dive on the floor for loose balls. He’s also the type to slap the court before getting right up in your grill to force the ball out of your hands.

All of that sounds great, right? Well, the problem is that it’s practically the same exact thing we could’ve said in October of 2022. In other words, the information we have on Terry simply hasn’t changed.

The rookie appeared in just 38 total games this season. Even more frustrating, he averaged just 5.8 minutes per contest and played just 214 minutes total. When we look at the 58 players selected in the 2022 NBA Draft, 34 clocked more minutes than Terry.

Indeed, Terry was one of only three first-round picks not to play at least 226 minutes this season. He also played easily the fewest minutes of the top-20 picks in the draft (these stats don’t include Chet Holmgren, who missed the entire season with an injury).

On the one hand, it’s not the end of the world to have a youngster learn on the sideline, particularly on a veteran-laden roster. On the other hand, can we really declare a 10th-place Bulls team good enough NOT to have prioritized more minutes for Terry?

I guess I’m at least comforted to know he saw 404 total minutes of G-League action this year. During the Windy City Bulls 10 Showcase Cup games, Terry also averaged a well-rounded 12.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.3 steals. But the fact of the matter is the G-League isn’t the big leagues.

First-round picks aren’t supposed to be completely out of the equation, yet that’s what we saw with Terry this season. And, look, that isn’t necessarily because I believe the Bulls found out he was a far more raw prospect than expected. Could there have been some concerns? Sure, particularly when we consider his lack of a jumper. But I think it was more so about the *twitches* “continuity” aspect of things. Likewise, as the team got off to a rough start, head coach Billy Donovan was only going to lean more into experience to try to right the ship.

In hindsight, though, it’s such a tremendous bummer the Bulls didn’t prioritize getting Terry on the floor sooner. Here are some first-rounders picked after Terry who played considerably more minutes: Christian Braun of the Nuggets (pick 21, 1181 minutes), David Roddy of the Grizzlies (pick 23, 1258), and MarJon Beauchamp of the Bucks (pick 24, 701).

Every situation is different, but if those contending teams can find time to squeeze their rookies into the mix, there really isn’t a good excuse for the Bulls to not have played Terry more.

I suppose all we can do now is wait and see if the Bulls make adjustments this summer with Terry in mind. While the expectation should normally be that the No. 18 pick is a steady part of the rotation in Year 2, I’m not sure we can feel safe about that right now.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.