Dalen Terry proves he deserves bigger role in Bulls loss to Bucks

Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Marking their sixth loss in a row, the Chicago Bulls continued their drunken stumble into the All-Star Break by dropping a 100-112 contest to the Milwaukee Bucks last night. This brought the Bulls’ win streak of 20 straight home games on TNT to an unfortunate end, a streak that had persisted dating all the way back to 2013.

Admittedly, the cards were already stacked against the Bulls with DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, Derrick Jones Jr., and Goran Dragic all on the injury report. With Khris Middleton also listed out and Giannis Antetokounmpo suffering an early injury as well, however, Milwaukee had it just as bad on their end. This Bucks have a championship pedigree for a reason, so I can’t be too harsh, but failing to win even a single game over this stretch is an indictment of just how bad the Bulls have been as of late.

The silver lining here is that these injuries opened up an opportunity for last year’s 18th overall pick Dalen Terry to showcase his talents, and he wasn’t going to miss this chance. In his first 20+ minute game of the season, Terry scored 13 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the field while chipping in 7 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench.

Despite the fact Nikola Vucevic reeled in 16 rebounds, Dalen actually led the game with his 5 offensive rebounds by crashing the boards and utilizing his frenetic energy to help the team any way he could. He also had twice as many assists as the next-highest Bulls player, seemingly being the only person out there interested in making his teammates look better.

Dalen’s performance was so inspiring it even got neutral fans interested in seeing more from him after the All-Star Break.

The Chicago Bulls are doing themselves a disservice by not putting Dalen Terry in a position to succeed.

While every member of the Bulls’ starting lineup posted a negative plus/minus (ranging from -14 all the way to -28), Terry was +1 on the court despite playing 27 minutes and sharing the court with the struggling starters. Although he only shot 1-for-4 from deep, he proved to be a willing spot-up shooter and didn’t hesitate to attack the rim and create his own looks ⁠— something so few members of this roster are capable of doing. His defensive energy also made a noticeable impact and bodes well for his future as a two-way talent in the league.

These have all been major areas of weakness for the Bulls this season, and Dalen could have helped address these issues instead of rotting on the bench. The Bulls clearly lack a mental edge and this six-game losing streak is all the evidence you need to prove that point. There’s no longer any justification for devoting Dalen’s minutes to over-the-hill veterans like Dragic.

Try as I might, I can’t find any logical reason as to why this team has gotten significantly worse over the summer. If anything, they should have been better, now that Vucevic has figured things out and the Bulls have a real backup center. But the fact of the matter is they haven’t. The Chicago Bulls stink.

That’s why it’s time to tear things down and build around the youth. That starts with promoting Dalen Terry to an appropriate role for his skill set. Chicago already has a collection of interesting young pieces in Patrick Williams, Coby White, and Ayo Dosunmu; it’s time the team starts putting these players in a position to develop their game and maximize their talent, rather than burying them behind a former All-Star trio that isn’t good enough to win in today’s NBA.

Who knows, building up and promoting the youth may even yield more team success, as we’ve seen in Utah and Oklahoma City this season. But even if it doesn’t, at least we’ll be treated to a more competitive and entertaining brand of basketball, and increasing Chicago’s odds at keeping their pick in the upcoming draft is a consolation prize well worth chasing.

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