Babcock Hoops’ manager of video scouting Derek Murray breaks down 2020 NBA Draft prospect Tyrell Terry of the Stanford Cardinal.
Position: PG | Height: 6’1” | Weight: 160 | Team: Stanford | Class: Freshman
Pick and Roll Feel
Adequate Vision + Passing
Good Decision Maker
Overall Size + Length
Lack of Physicality
Finishing at the Rim
Ranked #88 RSCI in the class of 2019, the Minneapolis native came to Stanford known for his shooting. In his 2018 Gauntlet season with D1 Minnesota, Terry shot 42.4% from three, but yet to be seen was whether or not the shotmaking would translate against NCAA length.
Terry’s greatest offensive value comes from three-point shooting. During his freshman season, he hit 40.8% from deep (62-of-152) and displayed great versatility. He showed an ability to hit shots off the dribble, spotting up, or off of movement, which garnered attention across NBA front offices. Terry’s ability to hit shots consistently is a result of strong pre-shot footwork, as well as incredibly smooth mechanics. His form can change depending on the scenario, by adjusting his body or shifting his balance when contested heavily — he finds ways to get a decent look. He was blocked only once from deep on the season. My favorite thing about Terry’s shooting is that I believe it will extend to NBA range. Whether it’s off the dribble or running off screens, Terry does a good job getting his feet set and delivering a beautiful ball. He ranked as a 99th percentile catch-and-shooter as a freshman, hitting an incredible 50% of his attempts. Multiple of these opportunities came from NBA range, so I expect him to continue being a shooting threat at the next level.
As a way to get onto the floor and contribute early, Terry will likely play more as an off-ball shooter rather than as a floor general. This would allow his point guard skills to be brought along slowly, as he needs more reps before being a primary initiator with an NBA unit. The motion-based offense that Stanford ran limited him to only 153 pick-and-roll possessions. If he spends some time in the G-League, he could have more leeway to play through growing pains — which would benefit him immensely. His ability to handle pick-and-roll responsibilities when tasked will be crucial to him being able to stay on the floor. He was effective this year in the pick-and-roll at times, but he was very inconsistent. While he’s not an elite passer, he plays with a solid basketball IQ and uses screens well to create for both his teammates and himself. What defenses learned early is that you absolutely cannot afford to play under his screen, as he can make you pay and stroke a three given even the smallest amount of space.
When at his best, Terry is capable of delivering crisp, timely passes to teammates on both the perimeter, as well as smooth pocket passes to the roll man. When coming off screens, Terry is immediately a threat to use his shooting prowess as a weapon; he promptly shifts his vision to the entire floor and welcomes an opportunity to create for others. While his vision and creativity are strengths, a large number of his passes come after coming to a complete stop. The live dribble passing isn’t a glaring concern, but it’s worth noticing and highlighting as an early point of development for whoever selects him. He’s shifty with the ball in his hands but could benefit from improved ball handling. At his size and length, tight handles will be imperative. What concerns me regarding creativity and assists is the lack of volume. In 31 games he averaged 3.9 assists per 40 minutes, the lowest among point guards that we project to be drafted this year. He never produced more than six assists in a single game, which is disappointing considering the amount of time he was in control of the Stanford offense, which shot the ball well and ranked 22nd in the NCAA in field goal percentage. Evaluating or comparing players off purely assist numbers can be precarious, seeing how teammates play a major role in the accumulation, highlighting the importance of examining a players’ passes and reads in and of themselves. For the most part, I like the vision of Terry. Although he’s had his struggles passing out of the pick-and-roll, he often demonstrates timely, rhythmic distribution to teammates which should translate well to the next level.
My biggest concern with Terry’s game comes at the rim. In 85 attempts at the rim, he was blocked 17 times. Twenty percent is the highest among all 2020 NBA prospects I’ve looked into and is likely the result of below-average length and athleticism. To put it bluntly, if Pac-12 length caused significant issues in the lane, I certainly worry about it at the next level. The best NBA guards can counter issues at the rim with floaters or runners that help them keep the advantage created off the dribble drive. This season, Terry didn’t display the necessary touch, or ability to rise in traffic, to consider it a strength. He has phenomenal touch from deep but ranked 21st percentile on runners. He lacks the burst necessary to create on his own. I don’t see him contributing in the lane early at the next level. However, I do believe that he has the ability to add a floater to his repertoire as he already possesses a terrific feel and shooting prowess.
What may help Terry overcome some of the physical obstacles is his mind. According to USA Today, Terry broke a record for basketball IQ based on tests reportedly administered by some NBA front offices. His high IQ and feel are evident through changing speeds and the ability to get defenders off balance with subtle, decisive moves. Terry is also a strong decision-maker, doing a good job limiting turnovers. Depending on how much you trust the process regarding team administered tests, some may value this information more, or less, than others. Regardless, it’s a positive note and provides some promise for his translation to the NBA.
Considering all of his strengths on the offensive end, he may need to be hidden on the defensive end — at least early on in his professional career. His lateral quickness is good, but his footwork defending isolations and pick-and-rolls is inconsistent. The largest issues arise when attacking guards drive to the basket; Terry isn’t strong enough to deter drives with his frame, which will need to be addressed immediately when he gets in an NBA organization. For his lack of length, Terry does a terrific job contesting shots, as he times his jumps really well and anticipates shots by his man.
What’s promising with Terry is that even if a team tries to hide him, his basketball IQ keeps him engaged to a level that he can produce impact. Terry is willing to stunt drives and tag the roll man when given the opportunity. He feels space on the floor, prevents passing lanes regularly, and plays with active hands. On many of his stunts, his lateral quickness and quick hands generate deflections or cause the ball handler to pick up his dribble. The defensive lapses in Terry’s game are not a result of falling asleep or laziness. There are multiple instances where he makes a correct rotation or anticipates a play developing correctly, but he ends up over helping, leaving his man. It’s a bit of a dichotomy. His understanding of the floor is correct, but his decision making will need to be tightened up.
One thing that causes me headaches when evaluating is when a prospect is disinterested on the defensive end. A lot of scoring guards are comfortable watching their teammates carry the load on the defensive end of the floor, but Terry is not. For all of Terry’s hindrances, he cares, and his effort is there. His basketball IQ is evident on that end and there’s a care factor that’s contagious, even when the impact is minute.
Recently signed with Mike Naiditch of Beyond Athlete Sports Management, the sharpshooter enters the draft with high hopes and potential. Right now, the bankable skill is his shooting, with the varying opinions of him as a prospect likely tied to his lack of size and elite athleticism.
At 6-foot-2 (without shoes) and a reported 6-foot-2.5 wingspan, the size and length of NBA defenders may give Terry some trouble. I searched current NBA players with similar height and weight and a few notable names came up: Chris Paul, Ja Morant, and Mike Conley. Each of those players has multiple distinguished, translatable skills, which separates them from the rest. Tyrell Terry’s shooting ability is clearly there, but I’m hesitant to say that he has multiple translatable skills yet. In order for him to develop into a regular starter, he will need to make major strides in developing physically and also develop his ability to facilitate.
For teams in need of shooting at the end of the first, or early second round, Terry is a viable option. If given the opportunity early, he may be able to provide a shooting spark off the bench for a team. However, I feel that a season in the G-League would do Terry a lot of good. It would allow him to work on his physical strength and develop his primary initiator skills that he’s flashed. While there will be substantial risk involved with selecting him, Terry has the potential to end up being a solid choice due to his innate shooting ability and offensive ceiling.