Dalen Terry to the Bulls was a B-minus, as five teams won draft night
Terry wasn’t expected to go in the first round until the 20s, so jumping up to No. 18 overall had to make the Arizona product feel good. Not as good as at least five other teams that at least on paper had great drafts.
There was news about Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball.
It wasn’t necessarily great news, but it was news nonetheless.
‘‘Currently working out in [Los Angeles], still doing his [knee] rehab,’’ general manager Marc Eversley said when he was asked about Ball on Thursday. ‘‘We have sent our performance staff to see him every week and track his progress. All reports are good. He’s making progress.’’
Is he making enough progress to be ready for the start of training camp?
‘‘I certainly hope so,’’ Eversley said.
It wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement about Ball’s availability moving forward, with his injured left knee still a much bigger problem than first anticipated.
When Ball had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the knee in late January, the Bulls gave a timetable of six to eight weeks for his recovery. But Ball also was dealing with a bone bruise, and the pain it caused proved to be the reason he didn’t play for the rest of the season.
Fast-forward to the draft Thursday. The Bulls were sitting with the No. 18 pick, despite efforts to move up or down earlier in the day.
They needed outside shooting and bulk up front to help their physicality, but they passed on both to add a big guard/wing player in Dalen Terry, whom most experts projected to go in the 20s.
Did the Bulls make that pick because they have concerns about Ball? Maybe a bit, but a deeper dive shows exactly how the Bulls want to play with this core unit.
Center Nikola Vucevic is not a top rim protector, and the Bulls don’t expect him to be. This is about a philosophy of causing chaos and havoc in an opposing team’s backcourt, leading to turnovers and transition baskets.
The Bulls didn’t pick Terry to play point guard in case Ball can’t answer the bell; they selected him to join Ball, Alex Caruso and Javonte Green in the disruption department.
So while the selection feels like a C on the surface, a more accurate grade when all things are taken into consideration is more like a B-minus.
No, the Bulls weren’t considered draft-night winners, but they did improve themselves. Then again, most of the NBA did, especially these five organizations.
Not only did the Pistons give themselves the backcourt of the future by drafting Jaden Ivey to play alongside All-Rookie Team guard Cade Cunningham, but they also added an athletic big man in Jalen Duren.
Leading up to the draft, the Pistons also traded veteran forward Jerami Grant to the Trail Blazers, adding future draft assets to continue their rebuild.
Vice president David Griffin continued flexing his muscles as a great team-builder, taking an up-and-coming roster and adding two more intriguing pieces to it. Dyson Daniels is a defensive-minded hell-raiser with two-way-player ability, and landing a falling E.J. Liddell at No. 41 might prove to be the steal of the night.
Forward Jeremy Sochan might develop into a Kawhi Leonard type of player on both ends of the floor, and landing shooting guard Malaki Branham at No. 20 was huge for their scoring inconsistency. The Spurs weren’t done, however, and also drafted guard Blake Wesley at No. 25.
It was a huge haul for a franchise looking to get back on the radar.
Jalen Green, the No. 2 pick last year, needs help, and help is on the way. Jabari Smith is a smooth scorer at 6-10, and wing player Tari Eason might be the most versatile defender in the top 20. Point guard TyTy Washington was projected to be a lottery pick by some, so landing him at No. 29 might prove to be huge.
Chet Holmgren, Ousmane Dieng and Jalen Williams gave the Thunder a combined wingspan of just less than 22 feet. Impressive. But all eyes will be on Holmgren, who went No. 2 overall. If the 7-footer turns out to be the unicorn he has been projected to be, their rebuild might come quickly.