Terry’s ‘brashness’ has already impressed Kendall Gill originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
It hasn’t taken long for Dalen Terry to make a good impression on Kendall Gill.
In a strong Summer League showing, the rookie guard surprised the 15-year NBA veteran turned NBC Sports Chicago Bulls studio analyst with his offensive game, averaging 14 points across his first four contests before leaving the fifth with an injury.
“One of the (University of Illinois) assistant coaches told me: ‘We didn't guard him, we just left him alone (when Illinois played Arizona),’" Gill said of Terry on the latest episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast. “I was impressed offensively that he was better than I thought he was.”
Terry’s personality jumped off the screen as well. Even in an exhibition setting — from Summer League to offseason pickup runs — he is a bolt of energy and quick to motivate his teammates through gestures and impassioned verbal encouragement.
“I think most important about him is his personality that he brings to the game. Confident kid. He's very confident,” Gill said. “And kids like that always improve — because, you know, they talk so much smack, they gotta improve! They gotta back it up.
“He (Terry) was here on the South Side of Chicago playing, and I got an opportunity to watch a couple clips playing on the South Side. And this guy, man, he was an entertainer out there. And he can play the game better than I thought he could.”
Gill said it takes a couple of games to glean whether a player’s competitiveness is truly as raw as it appears at first glance — and Terry passed that sniff test.
“One guy can do it because he's having a good game for that specific game. But you want to see a guy's habit. Can he do it two, three, four games in a row,” Gill said. “Now if he's doing that all the time, then that's what he is. He (Terry) has definitely displayed leadership qualities at an early age, brashness. I saw him in his predraft workout, I went back and watched that, he was brash in that as well, exuded a lot of confidence.”
Terry’s first-year role with the Bulls is yet unclear — the team’s guard rotation is crowded with veterans and prospects, alike, and it will be telling to monitor how he adjusts to NBA-level competition at age 20.
But given his established defensive prowess, his upside makes him a worthy new addition to the Bulls’ core.
“You never know. He might be one of those guys if we have an injury here or there that is called upon and comes in and impresses and maybe sticks in the lineup,” Gill said. “But he's a great piece to have for the future. Players do get older, players do move on. So I think he's a great piece to build upon.”