The start of a new NBA season is a beautiful thing. There is no shortage of league-wide optimism heading into training camp, because every team has a record of 0-0 and believes anything could be possible. That’s not just for teams overall, but for players too on a more personal level, especially the younger ones who have yet to fully establish themselves.
But sometimes, life gets in the way.
The Dallas Mavericks had high hopes for Tyrell Terry heading into last season, when the No. 31 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft was dubbed by some as potentially being the steal of the draft. Former Mavs GM Donnie Nelson even went as far as saying that the team viewed Terry as a replacement for Seth Curry, who was unfortunately traded to Philadelphia last offseason for Josh Richardson.
“I’m (already) a pretty self-motivated person,” Terry told DallasBasketball.com during our Mavs Step Back Podcast exclusive 1-on-1 interview earlier this year.
“But to have those kind of (high) expectations, and to see the amount of support I’ve gotten from the Dallas fans and support system, it motivates me to want to become a great player for the city and a great player for the fans to watch. Especially seeing how excited they were once I was drafted. So there’s a great deal of motivation to want to perform for myself and obviously the fans and the organization.”
That's all grand. But Terry's time away from the team dealing with a personal issue is now, as of this weekend, being followed up by another departure from the team to deal with what new Mavs head coach Jason Kidd terms a "personal matter.''
And a source suggests to DBcom that there is some "concern'' about Terry's overall stability here.
Due to a number unfortunate circumstances, including no Summer League, a shortened offseason, coaching (maybe, to a degree) and personal reasons, Terry didn’t have a ‘Hollywood’ rookie season in ‘Take 1’. And although there were likely a handful of reasons for Dallas’ offseason front-office shakeup, the Curry-Richardson swap, plus the lack of involvement from last year’s highly touted draftees were likely on that list of reasons.
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On the second night of a back-to-back, and while not having Luka Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis, the Dallas Mavericks lost their second consecutive game and fell to .500 on the season in a 97-90 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Despite the rough year overall, Terry did show some flashes in very limited play, and Dallas is still optimistic about his growth and development as a player going forward. For the Mavs, Terry only saw the floor for a grand total of 56 minutes over the course of just 11 games.
When Terry was assigned to the G-League last season, though, he saw his confidence rise with more opportunities, averaging 15 points, five rebounds and three assists while playing nearly 30 minutes per game for the Memphis Hustle (the Texas Legends opted out of last year’s G-League “Bubble”).
This summer, when Terry finally got to play for the Mavs at the Las Vegas Summer League, he averaged 16 points and three assists through two games while shooting nearly 46% from the field and 50 percent from deep before suffering an unfortunate groin injury that kept him out of the remaining games.
Expectations for Tyrell Terry
Given that the Mavs have still not addressed what was stated to be main offseason goal, which was adding secondary ball-handling and playmaking to help Luka Doncic, we don’t think it’s a stretch to think we could see Terry get some early opportunities under new head coach Jason Kidd this season, and potentially solidifying an end-of-the-rotation spot off the bench if those opportunities go well.
Naturally, expectations for Terry won’t reach 2020 draft night levels given how last year went, but perhaps that will be a good thing for a player who embraces being an underdog. And although Kidd’s head coaching track record to this point isn’t something to write home about, you can squint your eyes and kind of see where his expertise from being a star point guard could maybe rub off on the 20-year-old second-year guard. At least that’s the overwhelming hope.
The film-in-progress that is Terry’s career fell flat in its first take, but, as we've said before, what if he is having a more normal offseason?
Unfortunately, this leave is not a "normal offseason'' for Tyrell Terry.
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