NEW YORK (CBS/AP) — The Bulls chose Dalen Terry of the University of Arizona in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
The Bulls selected Terry as the 18th pick in the first round, making them bigger and more versatile in the backcourt as they tried to take another step after making the playoffs for the first time in five years.
The 6-foot-7, 195-pound Terry averaged 8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals as a sophomore in coach Tommy Lloyd’s first season. With a wingspan of 7 feet, it can guard multiple spots. And in the attack he can play both on and off the ball.
The Bulls had no second-round pick.
The Bulls went 46-36 and made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 with All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine leading the way. They started well and finished with the best record since the 2014-15 team went 50-32 in former coach Tom Thibodeau’s last season, although the way things developed left a bitter taste.
The Bulls went from leading the Eastern Conference to sixth place. They lost 15 of their last 22 games in the regular season, then were knocked out by Milwaukee 4-1 in their first playoff appearance since 2017.
Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas has been aggressive in rebuilding the team since he was hired at the Denver front office two years ago, taking over DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. He also drafted Ayo Dosunmu and brought in coach Billy Donovan.
But the Bulls were 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 big problem, with LaVine planning to test the market as an unlimited free agent.
The high-flying guard queues up for a huge payday after making his second consecutive All-Star team. But he was also in and out of the lineup due to injuries, including a problem 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 maximum he can get from another team is about $157 million over four years.
LaVine was far from the only Bulls player to miss time last season.
Ball spent the last 3 1/2 months after surgery for a torn meniscus. 4th pick in 2020, striker Patrick Williams missed most of the season due to torn ligaments in his left wrist. And Caruso was sidelined for seven weeks with a broken wrist after a hard foul by the Bucks’ Grayson Allen during a game in Milwaukee in January.
The injuries made it difficult to develop the continuity the Bulls needed to compete with the NBA, a point that drove Karnišovas and players home after the end of the season.
Meanwhile, several local players also hoped to hear their names called on Thursday night, but none were chosen in the first round.
One of them was Rolling Meadows gunman Max Christie, who spent a year in Michigan State before enlisting.
“I think it’s just betting on myself and being confident in myself and the preparation I’ve put into this game. I think that’s just all it really is,” Christie said.
Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn is poised to kick off his professional career after an All-American season, dominating last season as the only 20-10 player in the country.
“A lot of people question my ability to adapt to the NBA. I’m just as confident that you can put me in any situation — I’m definitely contributing,” he said.
And then there’s Loyola’s Lucas Williamson, whose calling card was defense during his time as a Rambler.
“I have no control over what happens in the draft, so I’m not going into it with any expectation,” Williamson said. “I just hope I end up somewhere with someone who’s willing to work with me and give me a chance.”
If one of those players becomes totally unsigned, they can choose their own situations as unsigned free agents.