Bulls win Summer League opener, but Dalen Terry plays poorly

Not only did the former Arizona guard struggle with his shooting — the knock on him as a rookie last season — but he also failed to stand out in his role as the Bulls’ primary ballhandler.

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Dalen Terry

The Bulls pulled out the win over Toronto in the opening night of Summer League play, but it wasn’t exactly a memorable night for second-year guard Dalen Terry.

Tony Gutierrez/AP

It was a Summer League performance that not just a general manager could love. In 2014, Tony Snell, whom the Bulls drafted 20th overall the year before, had Las Vegas buzzing, leading the young Bulls in scoring with 20 points per game and finishing third in rebounding and second in both assists and blocks while shooting 47% from the field. That included a blistering 50% from three-point range.

Snell earned All-NBA Summer League First Team honors, putting a huge “I told you so’’ smirk on the face of former Bulls general manager Gar Forman.

Snell, however, never amounted to much in a Bulls uniform — that season or ever.

Just another reminder that what happens in Vegas usually stays in Vegas, especially when it comes to the over-hype of the Summer League.

Fortunately for Bulls guard Dalen Terry, it works both ways. A bad Summer League game — like the one Terry went through in Friday’s 83-74 win over the Raptors in the opener — might not be a good look, especially for a second-year player, but it carries little weight in the big picture.

“The summer is obviously a time where you want to focus on your development, getting better, but for us, we want to see some growth,” current Bulls GM Marc Eversley said during the broadcast. “For us, the way we’re constructed and built . . . around Zach [LaVine], [Nikola Vucevic] and DeMar [DeRozan], we really want players to come in and complement those guys. Whether you’re talking about a Dalen Terry or a Justin Lewis, who is going to be a two-way [contract player], you’re really looking for those guys to grow and develop, kind of find their niche on how they can help us.’’

In Terry’s case, it’ll require more than his 4-for-14 from the field for 10 points against the Raptors. Not only did the former Arizona guard struggle with his shooting — the knock on him as a rookie last season — but he also failed to stand out in his role as the Bulls’ primary ballhandler.

That wasn’t the only disappointment Friday for the Bulls, who announced just before tip-off that second-round pick Julian Phillips would not play because he hadn’t yet signed his contract. The Bulls traded into the second round last month to select the high-flying Phillips at 35th overall, and he’d been practicing with the Summer League team since last week. It was unclear whether his contract situation would be resolved before the Bulls play the Grizzlies on Saturday night.

The young players weren’t all that Eversley discussed during the broadcast. He reiterated why the Bulls made re-signing Vucevic such a high priority when free agency began over a week ago.

“Vooch is so big and important to what we do and how we grow,” Eversley said. “He’s a unique player in that he’s a 7-footer, but he can stretch the floor, he can create space, he can make shots, and he makes things easier for Zach and DeMar to operate.”

The other player Eversley focused on was often-struggling forward Patrick Williams, who’ll enter his fourth season.

“I think this is a really big year for [him],” Eversley said. “For us to take that next level, Patrick’s got to grow. I know he’s put in the work this summer — he’ll continue to put in the work. He’s really got to take another step. Learning how to play with those three guys [LaVine, DeRozan and Vucevic] is going to be critical for him. Whether it’s making shots, getting to the bucket . . . he’s got to take that next step offensively.”

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