NBA Draft Grades 2022: Re-grading Bulls’ 18th pick one year later

Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls, 2022 NBA Draft Grade (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls, 2022 NBA Draft Grade (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Entering last year’s draft, it was abundantly clear that the Chicago Bulls needed to add three-point shooting, rebounding, and size on the low post. Fortunately, there was plenty of that in last year’s draft class, and the 18th pick was plenty high enough in the pecking order to get the job done. And yet, Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley decided to take things in another direction in the end.

Moments after the player I most wanted the Bulls to land — Tari Eason — came off the board at No. 17, Chicago swerved in a new direction by drafting Dalen Terry out of Arizona at No. 18 overall.

Although very raw and underdeveloped as a prospect, Terry’s intangibles and natural feel for the game had many scouts high on him as a potential sleeper outside of the draft lottery. It was even reported at the time that several teams were attempting to trade up to the 18th pick or higher so that they could land Terry before the Bulls selected him.

Still, it feels odd that the Bulls elected to pick a long-term project with their sole draft pick, rather than a player who was ready to suit up and contribute immediately. If the front office was gearing up for a rebuild, I could totally understand that looking back in retrospect. However, everything they’ve done since drafting Terry indicates an intention to continue competing and building around this current core.

More often than not, this left Dalen Terry as the odd man out this season. He only participated in 38 games this season, and in the ones he did partake in, Terry averaged a paltry 5.6 minutes played. This simply isn’t a large enough sample size to draw any real conclusions about his performance.

The Bulls made it difficult to fairly assess Dalen Terry by giving him limited minutes after selecting him 18th overall in 2022.

The decision to draft Dalen has only continued to sour the mood of many fans as we’ve watched many players selected after him step up and contribute immediately. Christian Braun (selected 21st), Walker Kessler (22nd), David Roddy (23rd), and former top-five projected Jaden Hardy (37th) all played big roles for teams better than the Bulls this past season.

Passing up on Braun has only continued to look worse and worse as the season has progressed. Already touted as perhaps the most NBA-ready prospect entering the draft, it was no secret that Braun was going to be a fine role player in the league. We’ve since seen him step up and blow away all expectations, including being a key difference-maker in the NBA Finals.

All this feels eerily similar to the 2020 NBA Draft, when Arturas Karnisovas reached for a project in Patrick Williams at 4th overall rather than the hyper-efficient and extremely successful collegiate talent in Tyrese Haliburton. The Bulls were in desperate need of a playmaker who could lift his teammates up to a higher level then, and still are now, simply because the front office has continually failed to make selections that align with their perceived plan.

Of course, this isn’t Dalen Terry’s fault for being highly valued. Still, it’s important to note that this isn’t a review of Dalen Terry as a player, but rather Dalen Terry as a draft pick. And as far as picks go, there was simply no reason to make this pick unless the Bulls were willing to build around the young core and actually grant him ample opportunity to learn and develop his game.

I can’t speak for every fan, but I feel fairly confident most would prefer watching the young Bulls build toward something greater rather than strutting out this mediocre brand of basketball for another year.

Grade: D

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