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2020 Hornets prospect scouting report: Tyrell Terry

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In his lone season, the Stanford guard was one of the best 3-point shooters in the NCAA.

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

The third installment of the 2020 Hornets scouting report series will focus on Tyrell Terry, a freshman guard out of Stanford that was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team after shooting the lights out for the entire season. Terry has been rising up draft boards during this pseudo-offseason, but there is a decent chance he is still available when the Hornets are on the clock with the 32nd pick.

Measurements:

Height: 6’ 1”

Wingspan: 6’ 2” (estimated)

Weight: 160 pounds

Terry started all 31 games that he played in, averaging 32.6 minutes per game and posting 18.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals per 40 minutes with 44.1 percent FG/40.8 percent 3PT/89.1 percent FT shooting splits.

Strengths: movement shooting, spot-up shooting, off-the-dribble shooting, crafty passing

Tyrell Terry is one of the best shooters in this draft, regardless of position. He can stop on a dime and pull up from well beyond NBA 3-point range, especially when receiving a ball screen and his defender goes underneath it. He has a keen sense of when and where to relocate to off-ball, along with a lightning-quick shot release that can beat nearly any close-out. He does a great job at staying on balance when his shots are challenged, and even when that isn’t possible, his release is consistent. Terry converted on 40.8 percent of his 6.0 3-point attempts per-40 (seventh in the Pac-12) and 89.1 percent of his free throws (first in the Pac-12). Space creation isn’t a strong suit for Terry, but he can get his shot off over nearly any defender because of how quick his release is, and he does a great job at finding his spot over the top of a ball-screen. It’s highly likely that he becomes an elite shooter at the NBA level, whether that be as a spot-up or ball-dominant player.

The pure shooting ability has masked something else thing that Terry is pretty good at; finishing at the rim. He’s a good ball-handler — though he doesn’t have a go-to move (no step-back, crossover, side-step, etc.) and mostly just uses craft to finish over/around defenders— and he attacks close-outs well. His coordination as a movement and pull-up shooter translates to his finishes at the rim, too. The dexterity and body contortion on some of his finishes/passes in the paint are impressive, and help make up for his lack of verticality and explosive athleticism. Terry doesn’t get to the free throw line often enough (.330 FT attempt rate), though, considering he’s an 89.1 percent shooter from the stripe.

Playmaking isn’t necessarily a strong-suit for Terry; he isn’t a floor general that’s getting the team into sets and running an offense every time down the floor, but he is a talented passer that has decent vision with the ball in his hands.

His capability as a point guard should improve as he acclimates to the NBA, as he is a pretty smart guy, both on and off the court (he reportedly “broke the record” for an IQ test administered by NBA draft scouts/executives). For now, he can excel as an off-ball guard that hunts for long-range shots while being tasked with some point guard duties, and eventually he can fully take the reign of an NBA offense because he has a propensity for turnovers. Terry could become a deadly pick-and-pop threat with his pull-up shooting and functional passing ability, and even now he’s solid as a decision-maker and shot creator in pick-and-roll situations.

For a 6’ 1” guard, Terry is an impressive rebounder. His rebounding percentage was 8.3 and he finished in the top-30 in total rebounds in the Pac-12 conference, with only a handful of guards ahead of him (most of which are taller). It’s fun to watch him crash the boards, snag a rebound and push the pace looking for a transition 3-ball. His eyes are always up, looking for the open man leaking out into space or the hole on the perimeter to let loose with a long-range bomb.

Question marks: on-ball defense, pick-and-roll defense, athleticism

For as good as it gets on the offensive end for Terry, it can get equally bad on the defensive end. He’s shown the ability to make the right play when defending the ball-handler in a pick-and-roll, but the miscalculations outnumber the good decisions. He isn’t an elite athlete or overly quick, either, so he may struggle to stay in front of more-athletic guards in the NBA. At just 160 pounds, strength is also going to be an issue. He is literally the exact same height, weight and wingspan as I am, and I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. For Terry to not get outworked by guards that are bigger than him, he’s going to have to gain a fair amount of weight and muscle.

Even without the frame issues, Terry is not a great defender at this stage. As previously mentioned, there are flashes that show he can do it, but right now he doesn’t always fight around the screen or stop the ball-handler from getting to their spot. He’ll get the occasional strip when a ball-handler tries to squeeze by him, but otherwise he is not an imposing defender at all. Terry can be a solid off-ball defender; he is usually rotating correctly and doesn’t get caught sleepwalking very often, but that doesn’t quite make up for the on-ball defense.

Overview

Obviously, Terry is a flawed prospect. All aspects of his shooting are great, and his passing/playmaking has its flashes, but he isn’t an NBA-level defender — yet. The 2020 NBA Draft is weak, as we’ve all heard 1,000 times now, but Terry has an elite skill that is basically a guarantee to translate to the league. Defensive decision-making can be learned easier than other aspects of basketball, making Terry’s path to being a competent defender a little clearer, and if a player can score (which Terry can), it’s easier to mask poor guard defense. A player that is as good of a shooter as Terry is worth taking a chance on in the early-second round, even if some aspects of their game need work. Cody Martin and Jalen McDaniels both have plenty of things to develop in their respective games and they were second-round picks. Terry could come to the Hornets in a similar vein; you know for a fact he’s going to hit some threes, but the defense will have to be brought along slowly. The Hornets’ player development staff would do wonderful things for him, and it’s fun to imagine James Borrego’s offense with another lights-out shooter from beyond the arc. Hopefully, Terry lasts until the 32nd pick.