Dalen Terry: The under-the-radar prospect the Sixers are missing

TUCSON, AZ – MARCH 05: Arizona Wildcats guard Dalen Terry #4, during a Pac-12 basketball game between the Cal Golden Bears and the Arizona Wildcats on March 05, 2022 at McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire)

There has been a great deal of speculation about what the Sixers will do with the 23rd pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Many expect the pick will be traded for more of a win-now veteran. Due to the Stepien Rule, which states that NBA teams cannot trade first-round draft picks in consecutive years, this could only occur in a draft-night move.

While flipping the 23rd pick for a win-now veteran certainly makes a lot of sense given the situation the Sixers are in, there are quite a few quality prospects that would benefit the Sixers in the draft. This class of prospects is loaded with win-now, versatile, and athletic wings who would fit perfectly on the Sixers roster. While guys like EJ Liddell and Jalen Williams have gotten a lot of buzz for the selection, there is a player who may be an even more perfect fit.

He may not get the attention other prospects do, but Dalen Terry could serve as the perfect long-term glue piece the Sixers are currently missing.

Who is Dalen Terry?

The two-year Arizona standout is quickly becoming one of the biggest risers in the NBA Draft. The 19-year-old has an impressive motor and brings it every night. He is a guy who does more than his numbers show and was a vocal leader on the talented Arizona team.

Dalen Terry started 51 of the 73 games he spent in college and all 37 games this season and averaged 8.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.2 steals. The scrappy wing played a vital role defensively and helped run the Arizona offense. He played within his role and also connected on 36.4% of his three-point attempts this season. The sophomore also connected on 48% of his three-pointers during the final 12 games of the season. His shooting is likely his biggest swing skill, as some are not sold on the jump shot as a whole.

While the numbers certainly don’t jump off the page, Terry was overshadowed by Bennedict Mathurin and Christian Koloko, who are each expected to be off the draft board ahead of Terry. Mathurin seems a lock to be a lottery pick, and Koloko is the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Even with the impressive performances of these two, Dalen Terry was frequently the glue that kept the team together.

Why He Fits the Sixers

From day one, Dalen Terry would be the most athletic and competitive player on the Sixers. He was often tasked with guarding the opponents’ best perimeter player and took the challenge personally. The 6’6″ wing was oftentimes seen clapping in opponents’ faces or slapping his hands on the hardwood. Terry is a vocal player both when giving his teammates directions or when chirping at opponents.

The biggest appeal of Dalen Terry is on the defensive end. He competes with opponents and does not gamble too much. His 7-foot wingspan also helps him intercept passes and jump lanes when the opportunity occurs. The Arizona product excels as both an individual and team defender. He is physically imposing and bullies smaller players when he gets a desired matchup. Terry will need to add some weight to his frame but will be a plus defender immediately.

His offensive game is an interesting blend of work in progress and advanced polish. Terry had an excellent feel of the motion offense of Arizona and also had some great passing reads in transition. He can be unselfish to a fault but has some very intriguing vision. The ability to manipulate defenses and connect on some advanced passes is impressive. He also loves finding cutters around him and flashes in his pick-and-roll reads. There is a real potential for him to be a regular ball-handler and run an offense a few years down the line. Terry also seems to get more fired up by setting up his teammates than scoring on his own, which is fun to watch.

Draft Outlook

It is unclear exactly where Dalen Terry ranks among draft prospects. He once seemed a lock to be a mid-second-round pick but has been a major riser in recent weeks. The intrigue around him continues to grow, and there is a chance he sneaks into the late first round. The 23rd pick may be early for Terry’s draft stock, but if the Sixers are able to move down a few selections and still walk away with Dalen Terry, it would be a massive win. This also could help them add some assets, which would be a major help with the cupboard fairly bare right now.

If Terry continues to rise with the draft getting closer, the Sixers should not rule out taking him at 23. He plays a winning brand of basketball and projects well in the short and long term. The Arizona product is a few years away from completing his game but much further into the developmental process than last year’s first-round pick, Jaden Springer. The Sixers have missed a toughness and intensity on this roster for several years. Dalen Terry possesses the intangibles that go beyond the box score that the Sixers are missing, and he would make an extremely positive impact on the Sixers.