NEW YORK (CBS/AP) — The Bulls selected Dahlen Terry of the University of Arizona in the NBA draft on Thursday night.
The Bulls selected Terry 18th overall in the first round, adding size and versatility in the backcourt as they try to take another step after making the playoffs for the first time in five years.
At 6’7″ and 195 pounds, Terry averaged 8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals as a sophomore in coach Tommy Lloyd’s freshman season. With a 7-foot wingspan, it can guard multiple locations. And in attack, he can play both with the ball and without it.
“More energy, all that, so, man, I see a lot of tall guards, a lot of big guards, a lot of defenders, a lot of guys doing a lot of things that don’t show up in the stats — because I think that’s who I am. I really wanted to be there,” Terry said. “I immediately called my agent – I thought, ‘No. That’s where I need to be.”
“I think he is the first make-up we want to bring. He’s a cool guy. He is competitive. He brings a winning spirit to the gym,” said Bulls general manager Mark Eversley. “He is energy. He is a bundle of energy – and I think we need him in this building every single day.”
The Bulls had no choice in the second round.
The Bulls went 46–36 to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017, with DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine leading the way. They started off with a big start and finished with the best record since the 2014-15 team went 50-32 in former coach Tom Thibodeau’s last season, although the way things played out left a bitter aftertaste.
The Bulls went from being the leader of the Eastern Conference to the sixth place. They lost 15 of their last 22 regular season games before losing 4-1 to Milwaukee in their first playoff appearance since 2017.
Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has been actively rebuilding the team since he was hired from the Denver headquarters two years ago, acquiring DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. He also chose Ayo Dosunma and brought in coach Billy Donovan.
But last season, the Bulls were hit hard by injuries and struggled with the best players in the NBA. The Bulls were 2-21 against the top four teams in each conference.
They also face a major problem: LaVine plans to test the market as an unrestricted free agent.
The high-flying quarterback is in line for a hefty salary after making his second straight All-Star team. But he’s also been in and out of the line-up with injuries, including a left knee problem that saw him undergo arthroscopic surgery a month ago.
The Bulls may offer a five-year deal worth about $212 million. The most he can get from another team is roughly $157 million over four years.
LaVine was far from the only Bulls player to miss time last season.
Ball missed the last 3.5 months after surgery for a torn meniscus. Striker Patrick Williams, selected No. 4 in 2020, has missed most of the season with a torn ligament in his left wrist. And Caruso was ruled out for seven weeks with a fractured wrist following a hard foul by the Bucks’ Grayson Allen during a Milwaukee game in January.
Injuries made it difficult to develop the continuity the Bulls needed to compete with the NBA’s top players, and Karnisovas and the players went home after the season ended.
Meanwhile, several local players were hoping to hear their names announced Thursday night as well. Rolling Meadows shooting guard Max Christie, who spent a year at Michigan State before being drafted, was selected by the Lakers in the second round.
“I think it’s just a bet on myself and confidence in myself and in the preparation that I put into this game. I think that’s all there really is,” said Christie.
Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn is poised to kick off his pro career after the All-American season, dominating as the nation’s only player with a 20-10 record last season.
“A lot of people question my ability to adapt to the NBA. I’m also sure that you can put me in any situation – I definitely do my part,” he said.
And then there’s Loyola’s Lucas Williamson, whose calling card was defense when he was a Rambler.
“I can’t control everything that happens in the draft, so I’m not going to go into details,” Williamson said. “I just hope I get somewhere with someone who wants to work with me and gives me the opportunity.”
Neither Cockburn nor Williamson had been selected as of 10:50 pm. If any of them go completely undrafted, they can choose their own situations as undrafted free agents.
Also Thursday night, the San Antonio Spurs took Notre Dame guard Blake Wesley with the 25th pick in the first round.