Bulls’ Summer League Standout Sends Strong Message About Dalen Terry

Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls

Getty Dalen Terry #25 of the Chicago Bulls.

Through three games, the Chicago Bulls‘ best player in Las Vegas Summer League has been Javon Freeman-Liberty. The former DePaul standout is averaging 21.3 points on an efficient 53.7% clip and has connected on 46.7% of his 5.0 three-point attempts adding 5.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds.

He has also shown a solid connection with second-year prospect Dalen Terry with whom he shares a special bond.

“That’s my guy,” Freeman-Liberty said, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic on July 12. “That’s been my guy since pre-draft last year. The first time I met him was at OKC. After that, we just locked in. We’ve just been cool ever since then.”

Terry, the No. 18 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, has not exactly shown as well.

He’s averaging 10.3 points while shooting just 26.2% from the floor (28.6% 3P) in over 31 minutes per game in Las Vegas, though he has pulled down 5.0 boards and dished out 4.0 assists.

Dalen Terry Not Impressing During Summer League

The 6-foot-7 Terry entered the league needing to work on his IQ and jump shot – two things that have stuck out as weaknesses through three Summer League contests. His rookie season was limited to just over 200 minutes with only three other first-rounders from his class seeing the floor less than he did.

“It’s about growth,” Bulls Summer League head coach John Bryant said via the team on July 13. “It’s about can he grow from this game to the next. The only thing I’ve talked to him about is how to be a leader.”

Bryant noted that, when Terry has the ball, he has to get the team organized.

Terry has thrown some flashy passes, some of which were not rewarded with made shots by his teammates, providing a glimpse of what he is at his best right now.

That – and his defensive effort – would be a big boost for a Bulls team set to be without starting point guard Lonzo Ball next season and possibly longer. But they also need him to be equally as capable off the ball given the makeup of the roster which is harder to do without a consistent jumper making his budding connection with Freeman-Liberty that much more encouraging.

But Bulls head coach Billy Donovan cited a need for the game to slow down before Terry would be ready for consistent minutes even without his offense coming along more. It remains to be seen if the player has done enough to earn his coach’s trust.

Terry’s next chance to impress comes on July 13 when the Bulls play the Cleveland Cavaliers in their fourth Summer League outing.

They will also play in a fifth game that has yet to be announced.

Arturas Karnisovas’s Draft Record Under The Microscope

Terry is the fourth Bulls draft pick made by executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas, and the second first-rounder. Karnisovas’ draft track record could come into brighter focus if Terry’s development continues to stagnate.

With 2020 No. 4 overall pick Patrick Williams yet to take off as many had hoped, Karnisovas – and Donovan – are both becoming targets for the ire of fans over the lack of player development. Karnisovas has also spent a lot of draft capital to put the roster together giving him fewer bites at the apple to get it right.

Rookie Julian Phillps’ showing in the win over the Sacramento Kings on July 11 notwithstanding, the Bulls need someone to prove the decision-makers know what they’re doing.