NEW YORK (CBS/AP) – The Bulls selected University of Arizona’s Dalen Terry in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
The Bulls selected Terry with the 18th pick in the first round, adding size and versatility in the backcourt as they look to take another step after reaching the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Terry, who is 6’2″ and 78kg, averaged 8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals as a sophomore in coach Tommy Lloyd’s first season. Possessing a wingspan of 7 feet, it can protect multiple points. And in attack, he can play with or without the ball.
The Bulls didn’t have a second-round pick.
The Bulls went 46-36 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2017 with All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine leading the way. They got off to a great start and finished with their best record since the 2014-15 team went 50-32 last season under former manager Tom Thibodeau, although the way things played out down the stretch left a bitter aftertaste.
The Bulls went from leading the Eastern Conference to finishing in sixth place. They lost 15 of their last 22 regular season games and were eliminated by Milwaukee 4-1 in their first playoff appearance since 2017.
Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas has been aggressive in rebuilding the team since he was hired from the Denver office two years ago, acquiring DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. He also drafted Ayo Dosunmu and brought in coach Billy Donovan.
But the Bulls were hit hard by injuries last season and fought the best in the NBA. The Bulls were a 2-21 combined against the top four teams in each conference.
They also have a big problem hanging over them, with LaVine planning to test the market as an unrestricted free agent.
The top-ranking guard is in line for a big payday after making his second straight All-Star team. But he has also been in and out of the team with injuries, including a left knee problem that led to arthroscopic surgery a month ago.
The Bulls can offer a five-year contract worth around $212 million. The most he can get from another team is approximately $157 million over four years.
LaVine was far from the only Bulls player to lose time last season.
Ball has been out for the last 3 1/2 months following surgery for a torn meniscus. Striker Patrick Williams, the No. 4 pick of 2020, missed most of the season with torn ligaments in his left wrist. And Caruso was sidelined for seven weeks with a fractured wrist following a nasty foul by the Bucks’ Grayson Allen during a game in Milwaukee in January.
Injuries made it difficult to develop the continuity the Bulls needed to compete with the best in the NBA, a point that Karnišovas and the players took home after the season ended.
Meanwhile, several local players expected to hear their names called out on Thursday night as well, but none were picked in the first round.
One was Rolling Meadows guard Max Christie, who spent a year at Michigan State before entering the draft.
“I think it’s just betting on myself and being confident in myself and the preparation I put into this game. I think that’s all it really is,” Christie said.
Illinois great man Kofi Cockburn is ready to kick off his pro career after an All-American season, dominating as the only 20-10 player in the country last season.
“A lot of people doubt my ability to adapt to the NBA. I’m sure you can put me in any situation – I definitely contribute,” he said.
And then there’s Lucas Williamson of Loyola, whose calling card was the defense in his time as a Rambler.
“I can’t control anything that happens in the draft, so I’m not going in with any expectations,” Williamson said. “I just hope I end up somewhere with someone who is willing to work with me and willing to give me a chance.”
If any of these players are entirely undrafted, they can choose their own situations as undrafted free agents.