CHICAGO (AP) — Dalen Terry made no effort to hide his excitement. Then again, that was hardly a surprise.
Terry is known for his infectious enthusiasm not to mention his ability to play multiple positions, and the Arizona guard is ready to bring all that to Chicago.
The Bulls drafted Terry with the No. 18 pick on Thursday night, adding size and versatility in the backcourt as they try to take another step after reaching the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Though he didn’t put up big numbers on offense, the 6-foot-7, 195-pound Terry played an important role on a team that won 33 games and reached the Sweet 16. Arizona won the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament championships and finished No. 2 in the final AP poll in coach Tommy Lloyd’s first season.
Terry averaged 8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.2 steals. Owning a nearly 7-foot-1 wingspan, he can guard multiple spots and play on or off the ball on offense. He is also known for his energy and enthusiasm, and it sure was on display after the Bulls took him.
“I feel people were overthinking,” Terry said from a draft party in Phoenix, in his hometown. “I’m glad I was 18th. I’m happy. I’m so happy. Eighteen was perfect. I have no regrets.”
Asked if he’ll remember everyone picked before him, Terry said: “Yes sir. I remember everybody already.”
Terry, who worked out for the Bulls right before the combine in Chicago, opted to skip his junior season and turn pro after seeing his stock rise this spring. He announced just before the June 1 deadline he would remain in the draft rather than return to Arizona. He was the second Wildcat taken on Thursday, with Pac-12 Player of the Year Bennedict Mathurin going to Indiana at No. 6.
“We spoke to him about 30 minutes ago, and the kid was incredibly excited about being a Chicago Bull,” general manager Marc Eversley said. “He literally said to us that he would run here right now and get started.”
Eversley sees him as more of a wing player who can guard both guard spots as well as small forwards. He said Terry probably needs to work on his jumper, though he is a “capable” 3-point shooter.
The Bulls went 46-36 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2017 with All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine leading the way. Chicago got off to a big start and finished with its best record since the 2014-15 team went 50-32 in former coach Tom Thibodeau’s final season, though the way things unfolded down the stretch left a bitter taste.
The Bulls went from leading the Eastern Conference to finishing in sixth place. They lost 15 of their final 22 regular-season games, then got knocked out by Milwaukee 4-1 in their first playoff appearance since 2017.
The Bulls dealt with their share of injuries, making it tough for them to develop the continuity they needed to beat the NBA’s best. They were a combined 2-21 against the top four teams in each conference.
They also have a major issue hanging over them, with LaVine planning to test the market as an unrestricted free agent. Eversley said the Bulls have “every intention” to re-sign the two-time All-Star, though it won’t be cheap.
The high-flying guard who had arthroscopic surgery last month on his left knee after it bothered him during the season is in line for a huge payday.
The Bulls can offer a five-year deal worth about $212 million. The most he can get from another team is approximately $157 million over four years.
Eversley said the Bulls look forward to discussing a deal with LaVine and agent Rich Paul once the free-agent negotiating period starts. But is the organization prepared to offer a max contract?
“I think we’re prepared to do what it would take to bring Zach back in the fold and be a Chicago Bull,” Eversley said.
Something else to keep an eye on is point guard Lonzo Ball’s recovery from a left knee injury. He missed the final 31/2 months because of a torn meniscus that required surgery and recurring pain from a bone bruise that occurred prior to the.
Ball is rehabbing in Los Angeles. The Bulls’ performance staff has been going there each week to track his progress.