When Dalen Terry walked out of an NBA draft viewing party attended by more than 100 friends and family in Phoenix, his raucous excitement spanned two time zones — even on a Zoom call.
The Chicago Bulls selected Terry with the 18th overall pick on Thursday, adding wing depth to their roster as the team looks to build around DeMar DeRozan in 2022-23. Bulls general manager Mark Eversley said the rookie’s appeal was key to the team’s selection.
“He’s a tough kid, he’s competitive, and he brings a winning spirit to the room,” Eversley said. “He’s a dynamic ball, and I think we need to do that every day in the building. … We talked to him about 30 minutes ago, and this kid is very excited about being a Chicago Bulls. He literally Tell us, he’s going to run here now and start.”
Despite holding a first-round pick, Terry hasn’t quite jumped off the stat sheet after two seasons at Arizona.
The 19-year-old averaged 8 points and 3.9 assists in his second season with the Wildcats, and his utilitarian role highlighted his ball movement and defense. But he wasn’t a key scorer for Arizona, a team that won a Pac-12 title and sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, averaging just 6.2 attempts per game.
On Thursday, Terry offered a simple explanation for his low shooting — “I pass the ball.”
Terry, at 6-foot-7, will add to the Bulls’ perimeter length, a factor sorely missing from this undersized roster. Eversley highlighted Terry’s defense and movement in transition, two keys to the Bulls’ early success last season after defensive backs Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso factor.
“My defense, my versatility is coming,” Terry said. “These are the things I do every day. My energy, my leadership, my courage… let me be who I am.”
Although early predictions put him further down the draft list, the guard impressed the team throughout the practice session. After one game with the Portland Trail Blazers, Terry wasn’t confident in his ability to perform in the NBA.
“It’s going to be redrafted in 10 years, and it’s going to be different,” Terry said.
Although Terry said he was “excited” to be selected No. 18 so he could end up in Chicago, on draft night he took careful note of every name he’d mentioned before.
“I already remember everyone,” Terry said. “Trust me. I get it.”
Terry said he was familiar with the Bulls’ roster before they made it to his roster of potential landing spots.
“I watched a lot of DeMar DeRozan this year, it was crazy,” Terry said, praising Zach LaVine as “the smoothest player ever.”
But the rookie was sold by the Bulls after training in Chicago. Terry met with Bulls executives and coaches for dinner before NBA United before getting a workout at the Advocacy Center. After leaving the Bulls practice facility, Terry said he immediately called his agent and told him he wanted to be with the Bulls.
“Man, I’m so happy to be here,” Terry said. “I feel like I’m a good fit.”