When the Chicago Bulls drafted Dalen Terry with the 18th overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft, Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley held high expectations for the sophomore out of Arizona. Perhaps not that he could be a star in this league, but that he'd be a serviceable role player and valuable member of a rotation looking to compete now.
On paper, that strategy made a lot of sense. Adding an NBA-ready prospect with a high floor would help the Bulls win now, even if Terry's perceived ceiling was low for his draft position. We've actually witnessed the Miami Heat hit the jackpot this very season by employing the same strategy with fellow 18th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft Jaime Jaquez Jr., who looks well on his way to All-Rookie First Team honors.
Unfortunately, unlike Jaquez Jr., Dalen Terry is not NBA ready. Not only has he proven to be unworthy of a starting role, Billy Donovan and the rest of the coaching staff seem to have reservations about even giving him any minutes in the rotation at all.
Terry was originally drafted with the intention of becoming a versatile Swiss Army knife for the Bulls on both ends of the court, capable of distributing the ball, hitting open threes, and picking up difficult defensive assignments on the perimeter. If the Bulls' last game was any indication, however, Terry couldn't be further from the perceived vision the front office had for him on draft night.
Since being drafted 18th overall, Dalen Terry has been a massive disappointment for the Bulls.
Terry registered just under four minutes of action in a loss against the Cavaliers, producing a grand total of 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, and 0 blocks. This might seem too harsh of a criticism considering his low play time, but he replicated the same feat the game prior against the Spurs. In fact, Terry has totalled just 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists over his last five games.
This has been a common trend for Dalen over the whole season, as his productivity is so far from what's expected of a rotation player that he may as well just be doing cardio out there on the court. His deficiencies have compounded and hurt the Bulls in critical moments, as illustrated by Stephen Noh below.
Consequentially, Terry has by and large been pushed out of the Bulls' core rotation. Dalen has played in just 26 of 42 games this season, and of those games, he's registered at least 10 minutes played only 12 times. He has played the 11th most minutes of any player on the roster, and has received less than half the minutes of the 10th ranked Torrey Craig.
As if Terry not being able to crack the rotation wasn't hard enough to stomach, it's even more difficult seeing his peers in his draft range all find immediate success on other teams. Jalen Duren, Mark Williams, Christian Braun, Tari Eason, Walker Kessler, AJ Griffin, David Roddy, Malaki Branham, and Ochai Agbaji were all drafted within 5 picks of Terry and have each been productive members of their respective team's rotation thus far.
This has proven to be a critical error by the front office; it's almost a marvel that Arturas Karnisovas didn't draft or trade for a good player with the 18th pick given the immense wealth of talent pooled up in this area. Instead, Bulls fans are stuck with a player who appears to be rapidly earning the title of "bust" with each passing day.