Bulls Prospect Gets Honest About Demotion

Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls

Getty Dalen Terry #25 of the Chicago Bulls looks on during game action.

One of the best traits a professional athlete can possess is perseverance – the ability to strive through tough times. For Chicago Bulls rookie Dalen Terry, that is a lesson he is already having to learn through trials.

Faced with little playing time, the Bulls sent the energetic youngster down to the G League to play for the Windy City Bulls.

While technically a demotion, it also allowed the 20-year-old to see the floor.

“I wanted to go,” Terry said before the Bulls’ 126-103 loss to the Denver Nuggets, per NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson. “I’ve been asking to go down…I just love to play basketball. I’m not here for the money or anything like that. I just love to play. If it’s limited time up here, I’d rather go down there and work on some things.”

Terry Thrives in G League

In eight games with the Bulls, Terry has averaged 1.1 points, 0.5 assists, and 0.3 assists in just 3.5 minutes per contest. The 18th-overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft averaged 16.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in two G League games from November 12 to November 13.

After his performance – which led to a pair of wins – Terry called it a “great experience”.

“It felt good to go against somebody besides the imagination in my head,” Terry said. “There’s no better way to get back into game shape than going down and playing some games.”

Terry posted a 14-point, 10-rebound on Sunday against the Nuggets then went out and had his best scoring performance as a pro with five points and a pair of assists. His best game came in a four-point, one-assist, one-rebound, one-steal showing in a loss to the Toronto Raptors on November 6.

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said he will continue to try to find minutes for Terry. But the rookie also echoed his coach’s sentiments on wanting the energetic tweener to round out his game.

“I’m not a player who goes down there and tries to score 40,” Terry said. “I want to play an overall game.”

Keeping Terry Ready

Terry’s biggest bumps in minutes have come in garbage time or due to injury and it figures to remain that way for the foreseeable future. But, as the Bulls found out with Ayo Dosunmu last season, that can change at a moment’s notice.

The Bulls did not have the luxury of sending Dosunmu to the G League after drafting him 38th overall in 2021 with injuries ravaging the roster.

They still do with Terry despite how things may seem, and it will only benefit both sides.

He doesn’t have enough minutes to qualify for any advanced metrics. But his plus-7.3 efficiency differential, per Cleaning The Glass, would rank ahead of every Bulls starter.

But there is still a very long well to go with Terry as far as the nuances and little things of the game. He averages the same number of turnovers as he does assists and is only slashing .300/.333/1.000.

It is interesting that Donovan, DeMar DeRozan, and Zach LaVine all called out the team’s lack of energy.

Perhaps they need more Terry, not less.

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