CHICAGO ( Associated Press) — The Chicago Bulls selected Arizona defenseman Dalén Terry with the 18th pick on Thursday night, increasing the size and versatility of the backcourt as they try to take another step after making the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Although he didn’t do much offensively, Terry, at 6’7″ and 195 pounds, was instrumental in a team that won 33 games to reach the Sweet 16. Arizona won the Pac-12 regular season and tournament championships and took 2nd in the final Associated Press Poll in Coach Tommy Lloyd’s first season.
Terry averaged 8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals. With a 7-foot wingspan, it can defend multiple points and play with or without the ball offensively.
Chicago 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. Chicago got off to a great start and finished with the best record since the team played 50-32 in former coach Tom Thibodeau’s last season in 2014-15, though 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 Chicago was hit hard by injuries last season 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 guard is in for a hefty salary after making his second straight All-Star team. But he’s also been in and out of the squad with injuries, including a left knee problem that led to 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 Chicago 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 sidelined 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.
More Associated Press NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports