Bulls Youngster Puts League On Notice After Strong Preseason

Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls

Getty Dalen Terry #25 of the Chicago Bulls celebrates a basket.

The path to significant minutes is cluttered for Chicago Bulls rookie Dalen Terry but the 18th-overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft is not lacking for confidence. Drafted for his energy and versatility, Terry put both on display during summer league and preseason action.

Now, he has his sights set on the regular season.

This is not surprising to hear from the 20-year-old who chose to wear the No. 25 – a revered number in Chicago. He’s also spoken of his admiration for DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine the latter of whom he tried to take on in practice and all of it could hint at what’s to come for the rookie.

Terry ‘Pushing for Minutes’

The 6-foot-7 Terry made an impression this preseason averaging 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists with nearly 1.0 steals per game. It was impressive because, even with his limited offense – just five points but five rebounds and four assists – he finished with the third-best plus-minus on the team in the Bulls’ preseason finale.

“[Bulls head coach Billy] Donovan entered the preseason prepared for Terry to take a slow entry into the NBA,” writes Julia Poe for the Chicago Tribune. “But after showing out in the preseason, the 20-year-old rookie has proved he’s ready to push for as many minutes as possible.”

Terry’s game is not built around gaudy stats instead being better suited to elevate those around him, a point highlighted by the Bulls’ brain trust on draft night and at Terry’s introductory press conference.

Preseason is generally to be taken with a grain of salt.

But there is reason to be encouraged by Terry’s ability to acclimate quickly to his surrounding as he did in the summer league when urged to score more.

“Terry’s work on his shooting over the summer was evident,” continues Poe, “he averaged 6.5 points on 55% shooting — but he especially excelled in assisting teammates and pushing a faster pace in transition. He didn’t appear to miss a beat against the elevated speed and skill of the NBA, particularly on the defensive end.”

Bulls Have Their Blueprint

“Although he likely will remain a deep rotational player, Terry did enough in the preseason to earn minutes with the first team much sooner.”

That could seem like a stretch but the Bulls do not have to go back too far to find an example of a player moving up quicker than expected. Second-year guard Ayo Dosunmu was a second-round pick last year, taken 38th-overall.

He barely played last preseason seeing fewer than nine minutes per game. But, due to Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso getting hurt, Dosunmu was thrust into the starting lineup 40 times and, with the former still battling through his ailment, will begin the season as the Bulls starting point guard.

Hopefully, it does not come to that and Terry simply plays his way onto the floor.

He’s already gotten ringing endorsements from his teammates and figures to only get better as he sees more and more in the NBA and, likely, the G-League.

It Runs in the Family

Terry’s calling card is his energy and his versatility. It would seem to be a family trait with footage of his little brother, Tre Terry, making rounds on social media and the younger Terry displaying a game that closely mirrors his brother’s.

The younger Terry is still quite a ways away from the NBA but he is already very talented. It’s a similar story for his older brother who is probably a ways away from whatever he ultimately becomes in the league — is he a guard or a wing?

He is very talented. That much was evident this preseason and has been since he arrived.

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