CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls drafted Arizona guard Dalen Terry with the No. 18 pick on Thursday night, adding size and versatility in the backcourt as they try to take another step after reaching the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Though he didn’t put up big numbers on offense, the 6-foot-7, 195-pound Terry played an important role on a team that won 33 games and reached the Sweet 16. Arizona won the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament championships and finished No. 2 in the final AP poll in coach Tommy Lloyd’s first season.
Terry averaged 8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.2 steals. Owning a 7-foot wingspan, he can guard multiple spots and play on or off the ball on offense.
Chicago did not own 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. Chicago got off to a big start and finished with its best record since the 2014-15 team went 50-32 in former coach Tom Thibodeau’s final season, though the way things unfolded down the stretch left a bitter taste.
The Bulls went from leading the Eastern Conference to finishing in sixth place. They lost 15 of their final 22 regular-season games, then got knocked out by Milwaukee 4-1 in their first playoff appearance since 2017.
Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has been aggressive in rebuilding the team since he was hired out of Denver’s front 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 Chicago was hit hard by injuries last season and struggled against the NBA’s best. The Bulls were a combined 2-21 against the top four teams in each conference.
They also have a major issue hanging over them, with LaVine planning to test the market as an unrestricted free agent.
The high-flying guard is in line for a huge payday after making his second straight All-Star team. But he was also in and out of the lineup because of injuries, including an issue with his left knee that led to arthroscopic surgery a month ago.
The Bulls can offer a five-year deal worth about $212 million. The most he can get from another team is approximately $157 million over four years.
LaVine was far from the only Chicago player to miss time last season.
Ball sat out the final 3 1/2 months following surgery for a torn meniscus. Forward Patrick Williams, the No. 4 pick in 2020, missed most of the season because of torn ligaments in his left wrist. And Caruso was sidelined seven weeks because of a broken wrist following a hard foul by the Bucks’ Grayson Allen during a game at Milwaukee in January.
The injuries made it tough to develop the continuity the Bulls needed in order to compete with the NBA’s best, a point Karnisovas and players drove home after the season ended.
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