Regular playing time remains a waiting game for Bulls rookie Dalen Terry, even after Sunday
Terry finally got some meaningful minutes against the Raptors, but the first-round pick still is dealing with a range of emotions. The message from coach Billy Donovan? Stay ready.
TORONTO — Bulls rookie Dalen Terry finally got some meaningful playing time Sunday.
With five minutes left in the first quarter, Terry came in for forward Patrick Williams and quickly got into the box score with a layup.
So is Terry, the 18th overall pick in June, going to read anything into his almost 10 minutes of playing time against the Raptors?
Unlikely. Terry knew the Bulls were undermanned against the Raptors and was just doing his part when he was called upon. What he really is looking forward to is a time when coach Billy Donovan makes him a permanent part of the rotation.
‘‘I know once I get my opportunity, I’m not going to give it up,’’ Terry said. ‘‘I’m not going to give it up because of the way I feel right now.’’
It hasn’t been an easy start to Terry’s NBA career. So when he talked about the way he’s feeling right now, it covered a range of emotions — from doubt and frustration to anxious understanding.
‘‘It was pretty hard at first because all my life I’ve always played big minutes and been a big contributor on the team,’’ Terry said of frequently not getting into games. ‘‘It kind of reminds me of my freshman year in college where I started half the year, then I went to coming off the bench. It was kind of hard on me.
‘‘Lately, I’ve been just trying to keep a positive edge and know that I get to watch all these games, be around these guys — the vets — and learn from everybody on the team. Just waiting my turn.’’
Terry got some playing time against the Raptors because the Bulls were without guards Zach LaVine (management of left knee) and Coby White (bruised thigh). They also have the back end of a back-to-back Monday against the Raptors at the United Center.
Donovan said he can’t predict when Terry’s ‘‘turn’’ will come, but he has spoken to him about making sure he stays ready.
‘‘[I told him], ‘The worst thing you can do is sit there and say, ‘‘OK, this is my fortune for the rest of the year,’’ ’ ’’ Donovan said. ‘‘ ‘The next thing you know, there’s injuries, and you’re being thrust into a position to play. You have to keep yourself ready to play.’
‘‘He’s handled himself really well, and I think he sees the situation. He sees that it just can’t be . . . put one month in a vacuum and, ‘Oh, my God, this is my career for the next five years.’ You’ve got to keep working, and he has to make sure that he’s responsible and ready to play.’’
That’s what Terry has been doing. Whether it’s in extra scrimmages with teammates after practices or going to the gym on his own, Terry’s mindset is that he won’t be outworked.
‘‘I’m trying to kill myself in my workouts,’’ Terry said. ‘‘Like I said, when I get my opportunity, I’m not giving it back.’’
Backup big man Andre Drummond stayed in Chicago to get extra treatment on his sprained left shoulder. But while Donovan said there had been some progress, Drummond will remain out of the lineup entering this week.
‘‘It’s responding pretty well,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘I don’t know how close he is to playing, but he’s doing more the last couple of days [than] what he was able to do with us leaving [on the road trip].’’