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2020 NBA Draft: Tyrell Terry Scouting Report

Aaron breaks down Terry’s game and makes a case for the Magic drafting the sharpshooting guard

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at UCLA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In these frustratingly uncertain of times, writing about something like basketball seems pretty trivial. We all have more questions than there seems to be answers for: questions related to health concerns, distancing concerns, political concerns, economic concerns - you name it. Questions about sports (as in “if/when they are even coming back in the summer, fall, or beyond. *Editor’s note: We’re back July 31st) in our society are pretty low on the list of important or prioritized concerns at the moment.

But this is a professional basketball blog; I’m not here (because I’m nowhere near equipped nor qualified) to even attempt to try and tackle the unprecedented problems the world currently faces. We’re here for you at Orlando Pinstriped Post to try and provide a short-term getaway/distraction in any way that we can.

For me, that’s talking the NBA Draft. It goes without saying that the process leading up to the NBA Draft this year will be unlike any other players, agents, scouts, and league executives have ever experienced. With travel basically coming to a halt, teams likely won’t have the benefit of bringing prospects in for workouts/interviews. Advanced scouting (through March) and film-study appear to be avenues teams will have to heavily rely upon with this draft.

I mean, at this point, we don’t even know if there will be an NBA Draft in June (could it possibly be postponed, re-scheduled? *Editor’s note: the NBA announced the draft will be held on November 18th). Without the information or guidance to answer many of these basketball related questions, I’m going to push forward with scouting reports of players in this class that could be available when the Magic pick in the first round of the ‘20 NBA Draft.

I will be putting these reports together over the next couple of months (and possibly longer), which include loose NBA comparisons for each prospect, film observations, talking points, a case for the Magic needing/drafting the prospect, and more. Up next in the series is a one-and-done prospect out of Stanford University, guard Tyrell Terry.

Tyrell Terry
Height 6-2
Weight 174 lbs.

NBA Comparisons

Probably won’t happen: CJ McCollum (not quite as strong), Trae Young (less of a volume scorer, lacks the elite vision that Young possesses)
Possibly could happen: Jason Terry, Seth Curry

Eye in the sky

-Advanced range, certainly not afraid to let it fly from well beyond the college three-point line
-Strong finisher for a lead guard who doesn’t possess above-average size/length
-Really solid offensive instincts, gives the ball up and relocates to open space very well
-Effective pick-and-roll player, will make you pay for going under the screen
-Very crafty already at an early age: utilizes change of pace dribble to create coming off screens, in his mid-range game, and coming down hill while attacking the basket
-His handle is solid and has purpose, doesn’t waste many dribbles; can improve even more in this area
-Shooting form is pure, quick (and high) release on his shot
-Was asked at Stanford to look for his shot, did show flashes of passing ability - both hands, wrap-around passes, whip looks coming off screens, etc.
-He’s a one-position defender, but depending on who the other guard in the backcourt is playing with him, could play some off the ball in the NBA (on the offensive end)

Best films of the season
1/11 vs. Washington State: 22 points (8-12 FGA’s, 4-7 3PTA’s), 6 rebounds, 3 assists
2/26 vs. Utah: 27 points (8-14 FGA’s, 7-11 3PTA’s), 3 rebounds, 3 steals

Resume & By the numbers

  • Won three state titles in high school at DeLaSalle HS (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Pac-12 All-Freshmen Team (2019-20), 3x Pac-12 Freshmen of the Week (2019-20)
  • Led the Pac-12 in free throw percentage
  • Placed in the top ten in the Pac-12 in three-point field goals, true shooting percentage, defensive rating, win shares, defensive win shares, and win shares per/40
  • Made 4+ three-point field goals in a single contest six times this past season
  • Scored 20+ points in a single contest nine times over the course of his freshmen season

Talking Points

1) Elite shooter

Basketball fans probably didn’t know a whole lot about Terry heading into his freshmen season at Stanford last year, and we only got 31 games to see him play at the collegiate level. But in that limited amount of time, one thing is strikingly clear about Terry: he can absolutely shoot it.

One could argue that Terry is the most lethal shooting lead guard in this draft class. The Minnesota native has it all going for him; he has range, a clean and fluid release, he has solid lower-half mechanics leading into his shot, and he can get his shot off with ease (despite not being blessed with elite size for a lead guard).

In a piece from late April, Sam Vecenie of the Athletic described Terry as an “elite shooter”. “When you watch him shoot, he has crisp, clean mechanics that will translate well to the next level,” Vecenie wrote. “He can hit shots on the move coming off of screens, off of pull-ups, or directly off the catch in spot-ups.”

Time and again, Terry made teams pay for going under screens defending him as a pick-and-roll initiator at the top of the key extended. I think it took a few weeks for the word (and film) on Terry to get around the Pac-12 that his range extended well beyond the college three-point line. The 6-2 guard shot 44 percent from the field this past season, which isn’t a number that necessarily jumps off the page. But a lot was put on the plate of the young guard by the Stanford coaching staff - to initiate the offense while also looking for his shot whenever he felt the urge to let it fly. Terry definitely had the proverbial “green light” over his lone year in Palo Alto.

Questionable shot selection (at times) may have contributed to his sub-45% field goal percentage last season, but I’m much more encouraged by his free throw percentage (89.1 percent) and three-point percentage (40.8 percent). Even more encouraging, Terry was a plus finisher (over 60 percent efficiency at the rim) for a guard of his stature, routinely finding a way to convert in the paint with craftiness and touch.

2) Basketball IQ

Ideally, it makes basketball sense for a team’s lead guard and primary ball-handler to be one of the smartest players on the floor. The point guard is charged with initiating the team’s offense, seeing the floor and recognizing what the opposing team is trying to do defensively, and generally making smart/steady team-oriented decisions.

Being a Stanford product (I know, he only spent a handful of months there, but still), that description fits Terry to a tee.

In fact, Terry’s basketball intelligence is already starting to become somewhat of an urban legend around the NBA before his career has even started. According to Bryan Kalbrosky of the USA Today Sports Media Group, Terry “broke a record” during his pre-draft interviews with teams, which included an IQ test.

“According to a person who spoke to USA TODAY Sports Media Group’s Rookie Wire on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, Tyrell Terry “broke a record” for a basketball IQ test administered by several NBA front offices this offseason,” Kalbrosky reported back in June.

Need more proof Terry is as sharp as they come? Check out his film study and interview with ESPN draft guru Mike Schmitz. I was absolutely blown away by Terry’s ability to analyze film, target areas where he needs improvement in his game, and just his overall ability to talk the game of basketball.

3) Defensive concerns

It has been widely reported that Terry has put on an additional 10-15 pounds of muscle during this extended pre-draft process. That’s a really good start for the young guard.

Because I feel that Terry will be targeted on the defensive-end early on his career, no different than any other young point guard adjusting to the pace and physicality of the NBA would be. To his credit, I saw a lot of tenacity, effort, and buy-in on film from Terry on the defensive end. But his body has a very long way to go to be able to hold up against some of the more physically imposing guards in the league.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer describes Terry as a “competitive defender who will take a charge and dive for loose balls. On switches, he’ll try to battle against bigger players.”

Making a case for the Magic to draft Tyrell Terry in the ‘20 draft

With D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams set to hit free agency this summer,
would Terry provide the Magic with needed depth at the point guard position?
With Evan Fournier's decision to possibly opt out of his contract and become an
unrestricted free agent this summer looming, would Terry provide the Magic
with needed depth at a wing position?
The Magic ranked 28th in the league in eFG% last season, 27th in scoring, 27th
in field goal percentage, 25th in three-point field goal percentage, and 24th in
Offensive Rating. Could Terry potentially help the Magic in any of these areas?
Does Terry fit the Jeff Weltman/John Hammond archetype? No
Would selecting Terry in the middle of the first round be considered a
BPA/value pick?

Through the three drafts that Orlando’s current executive team has been in charge (led by Jeff Weltman: President of Basketball Operations, John Hammond: General Manager), the Magic have been painstakingly predictable with the type of players they’ve targeted. Weltman and Hammond value character first and foremost. They also seem to be infatuated with wingspan/length (Isaac, Iwundu, Bamba, Frazier Jr., Okeke) and defensive positional versatility (maybe not Bamba so much, but holds true for the other guys).

I put together a Magic-specific draft checklist above, and drafting Tyrell Terry would help Orlando address a few areas of need. First of all, the Magic will likely need to bring in a point guard (or two) in the off-season due to the fact that both of their current back-up point guards will be free agents at the conclusion of this season. The organization can address this probable need through the draft, or possibly through free agency (mid-level exception). Secondly, the Magic could find themselves a little thin on the wing if potential free agent Evan Fournier decides to opt out of the final year of his current contract.

While I don’t think Terry is ready to play 30-35 minutes as an NBA starting point guard just yet, I do think he could provide the Magic some depth in an area of potential need. Of course, the Magic already have a potential franchise cornerstone at the point guard position in Markelle Fultz. That wouldn’t stop me from (theoretically) drafting Terry if I were making decisions for the Magic. He could back-up Fultz, provide the organization with some insurance in case Fultz signs elsewhere next summer, and could even potentially play next to Fultz in the back-court down the road. On the other hand, Terry’s profile doesn’t necessarily fit the archetype or mold of the type of prospects that Weltman has targeted in Orlando.

Terry is a prospect that has enjoyed a somewhat meteoric rise in his draft stock over the last year. While he’s still ranked outside of ESPN’s top-40 available prospects (as of 10/24), he is well-positioned on multiple industry respected big boards. Vecenie (The Athletic) lists Terry 23rd on his latest board (October 2nd), and Jeremy Woo (Sports Illustrated) has the Minneapolis guard coming off the board 17th in his latest mock draft (October 17th). O’Connor (The Ringer) caused a stir back in May, ranking Terry inside of his top-10 best available prospects in this class (eighth overall), a spot he’s still currently holding down (as of 10/17).

You can never have enough scoring threats on your roster in today’s modern NBA. Terry has shown that he can score off the bounce, that he possesses range that fits contemporary offensive schemes, and that he can make the necessary passes to keep the team’s offense moving (and productive). Pick-and-roll effectiveness is one of the most important skills a guard in today’s NBA can master. For that reason alone, the Magic should give Tyrell Terry a long look.

Aaron Goldstone has been writing for Orlando Pinstriped Post since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @AaronGoldstone.

You can also find his scouting reports of Kira Lewis Jr., R.J. Hampton, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, Theo Maledon, Tyrese Maxey, and Cole Anthony here.