Dalen Terry sticks his tongue out while the crowd behind him goes wild after a big play during an Arizona Wildcats game

Ask Sam mailbag: Dalen Terry impressions, post-Draft thoughts, and more

John Petersen: So the Bulls need size, bulk and three point shooting and then select a 6’6” 195 pound sophomore combo/tweener guard that scores 8 points a game and excels at nothing. We need to see him play but the initial fan response is why? 

Sam: Like climbing Mt. Everest, because he was there? He clearly seems like a project for now, a kid who even his college coach didn’t think would be drafted until recently. Which doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be. The draft gurus all had the Ohio State forward, Liddell, around that spot and a fit for the Bulls. Then he fell to No. 41. You know, like another recent fall to No. 41, Nikola Jokic. Oh no!

I actually think Terry is a good risk because he fits the particulars of the NBA, defensive length and aggression with at least not a broken shot. He didn’t exactly answer the Bulls primary needs of interior defensive size and knock down perimeter shooting. There’s free agency and trades to respond to that. Plus, you aren’t addressing current needs, anyway, generally after the first half of the first round, and especially as young as they come, and for a team mostly comprised of veterans. He looks like a G-league start for now with the roster glut at guard, though I said that about Dosunmu this time last year. It’s obvious the Bulls had their eyes on filling some needs, most likely a center like Duke’s Mark Williams. But one of the costs of being better is being worse in the draft. I think Terry also fits the profile of some of the other guys they probably were looking at for more immediate help, like Jeremy Sochan or Tari Eason.

Brodie Larsh: So they didn't go after rim protection or 3 pt-shooting, and got another combo guard. He does seem like a great complimentary player, ball mover, and help defender. I've seen him labeled as a "jack of all trades" type, and has the size and abilities to play 1-3, possibly small ball 4. Likely 5th-6th guard on the depth chart? 

Sam: There’s also an interesting pattern in the Bulls picks under Karnisovas. Ayo fell in their lap because the NBA book on him was broken shot. Pretty much anyone in Chicago who watches college ball would have picked him at No. 38. That was the no brainer. Karnisovas’ two main picks, both surprises to many, with Patrick Williams his first pick were teenagers who didn’t score in double figures in college, suggesting he’s eying a two-track system of high level veterans to compete now and a stash of kids to begin to replace them in the next few years. It’s smart in a sense because it could avoid the complete teardown ugliness the Bulls went through in recent years while the team uses free agency and trades to upgrade immediate needs. Or so seems the plan. And rarely does a management and coaching staff come up on the other side of a rebuild.

Mark Schweihs: If Patrick Williams was just now completing his freshman year and entering the NBA draft would he be in the Top Four?

Sam: Maybe if he were a starter in college. This is obviously the big season for Williams. And though I doubt the Bulls intended it that way, or that he’s got competition from draft pick Dalen Terry, who especially with his weight under 200 pounds is a guard for now, Terry’s verve and enthusiasm is a contrast to Williams’ languid ways.

I don’t expect the free agency/trade priorities to target Williams. I expect him to be the starting power forward next season. But your third season even with his stops and starts with injuries generally is considered a young player’s make-of-break season because he’s then eligible for an extension. I think it’s safe to say we know he’s not Kawhi Leonard. So enough of that one. But he still projects through the glimpses as a starting-level NBA maybe, maybe, they hope, they hope two-way player, which the Bulls dearly need. In this draft as a young, collegiate player Williams looks around the end of the top 10 since he—and the draft—still spell potential. But having a player like Terry around might help because Terry looks like what Williams hasn’t been, all energy and excitement and enthusiasm and attack and dunk and attack and dunk. I think that’s what Marc Eversley was suggesting in his post-draft comments about “needing that in our building.” Maybe some rubs off on Williams, who then makes the Bulls smile about paying him.

Len Artick: The latest rumor is P.J. Tucker?

Sam: Sounds like he’s destined for the 76ers or a Miami return. You’d have interest in a tough veteran as the Bulls need a bit more of that toughness gene, but the starting lineup and three/four, DeRozan, Patrick Williams seems set, and Tucker’s certainly not going where he at least doesn’t have a strong chance to start.

Mike Shea: Marquette’s Justin Lewis has agreed to a two-way deal with the Chicago Bulls, according to sources?

Sam: Who may or may not know? He was mostly projected in the middle and high second round before the draft and seems a lot like the guy the Bulls drafted, Terry, about 6-6, 6-7 with a huge wingspan, athletic, a decent shooter but not established, able to switch on defense as a wing player. If it’s true you’re seeing the Bulls for the future dipping their toe in the modern NBA lake of positionless, all-switch defenders and potential two-way players who shoot only layups and threes. 

Mike Sutera: The Pistons won the draft. (Jaden) Ivey and (Jalen) Duren what a draft.

Sam: Which is another warning sign for the Bulls. Watch out from behind. The Pistons have been brutal for several years also blowing draft picks, but they look like they hit this time. Hey, I had a draft board, too. These two kids were in the top three or four in my draft. I’d have had both top five, which also fills needs for the Pistons with a big man and super athlete. And they landed cap room with the Jerami Grant deal, so it’s not such easy division wins anymore. Same with the Cavs, who get back or can deal high scorer Collin Sexton and got Agbaji in the draft as a ready-to-play shooter. While watching the Bucks you also may have to check the rear-view mirror.

Ateeq Ahmed: Another guard? I trust AK but I thought they were going with a big. Maybe that’s being explored through free agency? Some of our target bigs were taken before 18. 

Sam: They were, I assume, until he wasn’t there. I agree about passing on Walker Kessler. He looked too slow to me even for half court play. I saw a Cole Aldrich comparison that sounded right, and right what they didn’t need.

I believe they can address the defensive size issue in free agency with their cap exception. The Ayton/Gobert/Nurkic guys are likely out of their price range. There’s been talk about Mitchell Robinson, which is possible. Maybe someone like Isaiah Hartenstein. Mo Bamba, though restricted? Andre Drummond? JaVale McGee? Thomas Bryant? Dwight Howard? Could the Warriors afford to bring back Kevon Looney with their tax bill? It seems like there are reasonably priced guys to fill a role.

Art Alenik: We are overloaded on guards and we needed shooting & size.  I assume they don’t plan to carry 7 guards, so they’ll probably trade Coby (who is a better 3-pt threat than Terry). I’m sorry, but this makes absolutely no sense to me.  I’ll have to wait & see if I’m missing something here. I hope Terry is a useful player.

Sam: It’s an interesting point about Coby and shooting, and though Ayo is such a local fan favorite, as a second-round pick he comes up sooner for an extension. It seems like someone is going to be odd man out, if only for the rotation.

Coby in my mail has been the most likely target, but I’d certainly like to see him after having a summer to finally get back in shape and gain some strength after starting the season late with no offseason because of shoulder surgery. Despite the view of a down season and toggling between the bench and starting and playing and not so much, when he did get in a regular role in 29 games leading up to the All-Star break with 14 starts he averaged 16.8 points, shot 44 percent on threes and 88 percent on free throws with almost a three to one assist/turnover ratio. The Bulls were 19-10 in that stretch. He’s been more durable than Ball and more productive on offense than Dosunmu and Caruso. Sure, he doesn’t defend like they have, but it’s perhaps not such an easy choice.

Pete Zievers: Is Westbrook to Charlotte realistic?  From CHA perspective, it's useful to have that much salary coming off the books, I suppose. I don't get the impression that Westbrook personally is a bad guy, but his game is pretty toxic, particularly at this point. Does CHA really want Westbrook? 

Wade worked pretty good with LBJ b/c he was able to pick his spots.  Westbrook doesn't know how to play like that. Whole thing was doomed from the start. LBJ likes spot up shooters.  Hayward would make sense there.  I think LA has another run in them if they can figure out how to keep Davis healthy and get some workable roster pieces.

Sam:  We’ve been a Lakers-free zone for awhile, but it can never last too long. I haven’t heard the Westbrook rumors lately, and we all assume he picks up his $47 million option for next season. The Lakers say they’ll be all in of he does (please, please don’t), which means they’re ready to deal. The Hornets have been looking to offload Hayward, and he does have one more year than Westbrook (though less money so who knows if they can match), so the Lakers could be interested depending on whether Hayward is healthy enough to pass a physical. After all, many NBA trades are the guy I hate the most now for the guy you hate the most now. 

Andrew Janoff: I think the Bulls could benefit from trading Vucevic for a more defensive-minded big who could better protect the paint and slow down Giannis/Embiid. To the Hawks for Capela? In a 3-team trade for Myles Turner? I know the Bulls value Vooch, but there is enough scoring in DeRozan and LaVine.

Sam: With one year left on his deal, my sense is the Bulls intend to ride it out with Vucevic and see what happens this season (he was more effective with Lonzo Ball) and provide him support in free agency. And then if things go well perhaps a short extension.

Dwayne Corry: I really hate the new 3-point analytics. I was hoping this Bulls team last year would smash that but injuries derailed the thought. I think the only way to save the NBA is to move the 3-point back, expand the width of the court, and/ or raise the hoop.

Sam: Moving the three-point line back seems the most reasonable response since it would also further open the court. I understand everyone is now gearing their games to the line, but it was awful (to me, at least) in the conference finals watching some matchups where teams would go three or four minutes just arc to arc shooting threes. Bor-ing! The court obviously needs to be widened as it was laid out for people with much shorter arms and legs who moved much more slowly, but no way the league is giving up those courtside seat prices. I know, they’ll still be courtside, but then you lose too much lower bowl. The basket is like your third bowl of porridge, just right.

Brian Tucker: Interesting how Liddell has slipped to the 2nd. Maybe we can buy a pick? 

Sam: He seemed more ready to play and is going to be interesting to watch. The Bulls guy Terry said he’s taking names of the 17 ahead of him for the draft redo in five years. Liddell has a long list at 41. The consensus mock draft was for the Illinois Mr. Basketball from Ohio State for the Bulls at No. 18. He had a private draft party going and the crowd booed when the Bulls passed. Same for when Milwaukee took MarJon Beauchamp at 24. Liddell sure looked like an NBA fit at 6-6 and 245. Shorter arms than Terry, but then there’s the measure of that heart thing. Guys in his profile have fallen in previous drafts, like Paul Millsap and Draymond Green and later been All-Stars because they don’t fit the athletic, flying wing, high ceiling model. He finally went to the Pelicans at No. 41. Remember, Ayo was No. 38. I’m interested to see if NBA execs have to explain that one in a few years. The NBA obviously also doesn’t think much of the Big 10.

Ruben Imperial: Just wondering why the readers’ participation in your column is gone. The conversations are wholesome and do add color to the column though it may not have the Sam Smith journalistic aptitude. We are even considering a chatroom column for the fans if only we know to whom we can address this. Can Sam advise?

Sam: Write your congressperson. And especially Adam Silver. I didn’t know until I began writing for the Bulls website, but while the team provides the content, the league is in control of all the team web sites. The league embarked on an update for all the teams, and the Bulls’ came last week and the league eliminated the fan comment sessions. Big mistake, and bad idea. Especially because the NBA likes to pride itself on not only being fan friendly but hands on with the fan experience. And it’s not like the comment section is some whacked out complain session like you see in some places. Or I’m told exists since I’m still making some changes with my whiteout on my carbon paper copies before sending this. I’ve noticed the commentators on my stories generally have an informed and respectful conversation about the team and game. They don’t always agree with me or the team, but that’s the point, to encourage discussion about the  game.

The NBA always has been the best league about that and has understood best the old crafty political advice about not caring much about what they say about me as long as they spell my name right. As long as they were talking NBA. Now the NBA looks like it’s pursuing censorship. This is not on the Bulls, who I know have appealed for the fan comment sections to remain. Let the NBA know.

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