Training camps are still over two months away but a pair of Chicago Bulls are already looking to get in mid-season form.
The two even connected on a highlight play with DeRozan finding Terry who drove for a bucket.
Terry, 21, played precious few minutes for the Bulls last season. He averaged just 2.2 points and 1.0 rebounds in 214 total minutes across 38 appearances. Because the Bulls wanted him around the club, he also missed out on valuable playing time with the Windy City Bulls in the G League.
He appeared in 13 G League games, 10 of which came during the Showcase Cup where he averaged 12.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.3 steals.
Terry also shot 39.3% from downtown which the Bulls have to hope is a better indicator of what is to come than the 34.8% that he shot during Summer League play in Las Vegas this offseason.
It was a tough go of things for the former No. 18 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
“It’s been disappointing to see Dalen (Terry) really struggle to shoot the ball,” an anonymous Bulls staffer said, per Keith Smith of Sportrac.com on July 14. “He can do just about everything else. But if he can’t figure out the shot, it’ll be hard to get regular rotation minutes. We have a very competitive wing and guard group.”
Terry averaged 12.6 points, 5.0 boards, and 3.6 assists in Las Vegas. He lacked touch around the rim and had moments where the game looked too fast for him but finished strong.
The Bulls hired Peter Patton to head their player development. Patton was the shooting coach for the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves and will have his work cut out for him, not just with Terry.
This is a Bulls team that ranked 29th in three-point attempt rate.
DeMar DeRozan and Dalen Terry Like Before and After
Ironically, DeRozan has also become the Bulls’ poster child for their three-point woes as a player whose game consists of a hefty diet of mid-range shots, an antiquated shot by today’s NBA standards. But even he has said he would look to get a few more threes up going forward, though he has also been clear about not abandoning who he is as a player.
Terry has a very similar frame to DeRozan as a 6-foot-7 wing.
And the youngster readily admits he is trying to emulate the veteran’s career arc, one which has led to six All-Star selections and three All-NBA picks.
DeRozan turns 34 years old in August and is heading into the final year of his contract so, even if he gets a new contract with the Bulls, the team has to plan for the future. With several players who could be considered projects, they need this process to pay off.
DeMar DeRozan Partnered With Patrick Williams in Drew League
Last summer, it was Williams in Terry’s spot, teaming up with DeRozan in the Drew League after his “summer from hell” experience in Los Angeles that includes 5 a.m. workouts. Williams has spoken of the benefits of the experience.
It did not result in a leap by Williams but his issue has been more about aggression than it has been skill.
For Terry, it is the opposite as his aggression was on display early in Summer League.
If the Bulls’ attempts to have DeRozan mentor their younger players pay off, this entire experiment might look a lot different to critics than it does now with Williams and Terry – and to a lesser extent, Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White – representing the next generation of Bulls on a team with a limited window for it’s top trio of players.
Rookie Julian Phillps is in that group as well but expectations should remain in check for the No. 35 overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. That leaves the focus on DeRozan’s understudies to provide the hope that there are even brighter days ahead.