Bulls take Arizona PG Dalen Terry with 18th pick of the NBA Draft

Bulls take Arizona PG Dalen Terry with 18th pick of the NBA Draft

Arizona point guard Dalen Terry is the Bulls’ first-round pick in the NBA Draft.

Rick Scuteri/AP

Dalen Terry’s wingspan measured at just under 7-1 at the draft combine. Not bad for a 6-7 guard/forward.

His confidence measured even bigger.

That was a key piece that impressed several teams that interviewed the Arizona product over the last month before the Bulls made him the No. 18 overall pick in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday night.

In Terry, the Bulls got an athletic defender who, on paper, can guard one through four but also attack the rim on offense with his ability to cut and move without the ball.

His on-court abilities will show themselves in time. What the excitable Terry cared about Thursday was showing his new team his grit, claiming that teams that passed on him will feel silly in 10 years and taking note of the 17 players selected before him.

“Yes, sir, I remember everybody already,” he said. “Like, yes, trust me, I got it.”

Terry sounded like a guy willing to give the Bulls more of the edge they have long needed.

“My defense, my versatility, is going to come over immediately,” he said. “My energy, my leadership, all that, my grit — all those things that just make me who I am are going to keep me in this position, starting tomorrow.”

Why he did drop to No. 18? Blame his scoring, or lack thereof. Terry, 19, wasn’t great from three-point range — an area where the Bulls need to improve significantly — and has appeared passive on offense at times.

The talkative Terry had an explanation.

“My off-the-dribble shooting,” he said when asked where he needed to improve. 

But he also promised it was better than people thought, and said the reason he seemed passive was because that’s what was asked of him in the Arizona system — to defend and pass the ball.

“I’ve been working on [my shooting], but I can only tell you so much,” Terry said. “You’ve got to see it.”

The Bulls will see it shortly, with Terry expected in town over the weekend.

His selection didn’t mean the Bulls weren’t exploring trades. General manager Marc Eversley said the front office was busy in the 24 hours leading up to the draft, exploring options to move up or down.

That wasn’t the only word from Eversley. Asked about unrestricted free-agent guard Zach LaVine, he reiterated the same message from end-of-the-season interviews that the Bulls have “every intention to bring him back.” Asked if that meant giving LaVine a maximum contract, Eversley said, “I think we’re prepared to do what it will take to bring Zach back in the fold and be a Chicago Bull.”

Former Duke forward Paolo Banchero was drafted No. 1 overall by the Magic, while the Thunder selected 7-foot center/forward Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga. Former Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. went No. 3 to the Rockets.

After the top three, all bets were off. The Thunder and Pistons made big swings with trades, with the Thunder acquiring French player Ousmane Dieng (No. 11) from the Knicks and the Pistons getting former Memphis center Jalen Duren (No. 13) from the Hornets.

Of local interest, former Rolling Meadows High School guard Max Christie, who spent a year at Michigan State, was selected by the Lakers in the second round (35th).

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