In the NBA, things can change in an instant and without notice. The Chicago Bulls found that out last season when then-rookie Ayo Dosunmu, a second-round pick, was thrust into a starting role due to injuries and wound up notching 40 starts on the year.
This time, it’s a first-round selection in Dalen Terry – whom the team took with the 18th-overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft – that is trying to find his way into the rotation.
He will have to prove his worth in the G League with the Windy City Bulls.
Floor time has been hard for Terry to come by as he has played at least five minutes just once and has yet to see even 10 full minutes in a contest. He has remained steadfast in his resolve that all he needs is a chance but the Bulls’ most recent move ensures he still has a ways to go until he earns it.
Terry Needs Development
“When I get my opportunity,” Terry said, according to a November 6 Chicago Sun-Times story, “I’m not giving it back.’’
Those were the rookie’s words following the Bulls’ 113-104 loss to the Toronto Raptors. They were without starter Zach LaVine allowing Terry to not only see the floor but get into the game in the first quarter.
He finished with his best individual effort to date with four points, one assist, one block, and one rebound.
It was a modest stat line but also highlights Terry’s ability to make a multi-faceted impact.
“He was fine,” said Bulls head coach Billy Donovan. “It’s hard for him because he hasn’t got consistent minutes. But he’s going to play with energy and make something happen. … I was happy he got a chance. I love his competitive spirit.”
To Terry’s credit, he’s only posted a negative plus-minus twice in seven games while posting positive plus-minuses three times and being net-neutral in his other two appearances.
But he has also finished as a DNP-CD six times to begin the year.
It is not abnormal for rookies, especially those taken outside of the lottery to spend time in the G League where Terry should get all of the minutes he can handle. And he can look to examples like Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole for inspiration. Poole spent plenty of time with the Warriors’ affiliate before breaking out last season earning a $140 million extension this summer.
Bench Mob Weighs In
During his time with the Bulls, retired NBA guard C.J. Watson was a part of one of the most popular bench units in recent team memory, the original “Bench Mob”. He joined Nick Schultz on the “Bleav in Bulls” on November 8 to make his case for the Bulls rookie.
In his view, Terry’s ability to contribute is going to pay off for the Bulls throughout the regular season.
“I think so. Especially with guys being out. That’s what the bench is for, to come in and try and earn some minutes…throughout the season we’re going to need that bench production when guys are out, when guys are trying to get some rest. So I think that’s a big plus for the Bulls.”
With the Bulls sticking with their plan to manage LaVine’s knee and the continued absence of Lonzo Ball, there will be room for Terry and his versatile skill set.
“Everybody preaches stay ready,” Terry said after the game, per NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson. “That’s what I’ve been doing…I’m just going to build on what I did.”
But the rookie with the indomitable spirit will have to bide his time like many before him.