3 min read

And the Thunder Select: Tyrell Terry

And the Thunder Select: Tyrell Terry

With a bounty of draft picks from the 2019 Tradepocalypse summer, the Thunder will be scouting young prospects at the top of recruiting and draft classes once again. Daily Thunder will keep you informed on whether those players look like good targets for Oklahoma City.

Projected draft class2020 (declared)
Projected draft age19
Measurements6’2″, 160 lbs.
Current TeamStanford Cardinals
HometownMinneapolis, Minnesota

At a glance

Tyrell Terry is a smooth but undersized guard from Stanford. He’s listed at 6-foot-2, 160 pounds and plays more like a shooting guard than a true point guard. He averaged 14.6 points and 3.2 assists per game during his freshman season for the Cardinals, while posting promising shooting splits — 44.1 percent from the field, 40.8 percent from three, and 89 percent from the line.


Terry’s upside is probably that of a quality starting guard who can space the floor and operate out of a pick-and-roll when needed. He’s an awesome shooter and showed the ability to knock down all sorts of shots in the mid range and from three. Terry can also run off screens and hit a catch-and-shoot jumper or attack a closeout, which is a skill that none of Oklahoma City’s guards — save for the occasional flash from Terrance Ferguson — currently possess.

If you’re looking for a game to re-watch, look no further than Stanford’s dismantling of Oklahoma back in November. In the first five minutes, Terry blows past almost every perimeter defender OU has and executes a perfect read every time. Even in a small sample, he showcased an off-the-dribble baseline jumper, a pass out of a double team to an open 3-point shooter, a driving floater and an off-the-glass runner over two defenders. He won’t always be that hot, but the touch and decision-making is there.

Beyond his scoring ability, the thing that stands out on tape to me is his quickness. It’s Trae Young-esque in that he’s not a straight-line speed athlete, but he’s so shifty and explosive in short bursts that defenders have trouble staying in front of him.


Terry’s downsides are somewhat obvious, but I also think they can be mitigated in the right situation. He’ll need to add size before he can reliably defend point guards in the NBA, and he may not be dynamic enough as a passer to be a true lead guard (I have similar concerns about the latter with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander).

Terry is only 19, so I’m not concerned about his ability to add weight throughout the pre-draft process and during the early part of his NBA career. His physical tools mean he’ll likely never be an above average individual defender, but someone with his basketball IQ can get to a point where he’s not being targeted on switches every time down the floor. There’s likely to be some growing pains on this end, but his offensive upside makes that risk worth it in my opinion.

In a half court setting, Terry is best as an off-ball guard who can run off a screen and then make a read from there. He’s excellent at getting defenders off balance, but isn’t as effective when he’s isolated against a set defense. That probably means he’s a two on offense and a one on defense, which would work in a situation like Oklahoma City but not in places where there’s an existing point guard that’s not as big as Gilgeous-Alexander.

Thunder Fit: Could he play alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander?

Because of Gilgeous-Alexander’s size, Oklahoma City is an ideal landing spot for Terry and vice-versa. Looking ahead to a situation where Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder are elsewhere, Terry and SGA could start in the back court with interchangeable roles on offense while forming a solid-enough-for-now defensive tandem. Terry would typically guard point guards while SGA handles smaller wings. As Terry adds weight, they would become more interchangeable on that end as well.

Making the pick

Terry is the kind of player I think OKC should explore trading up for into the late teens if it can be done cheaply. I don’t think he’ll still be on the board at 25, although it’s possible teams shy away from his flaws and focus on other guards in this class. But Terry has the potential to be the steal of this class if someone takes him outside the lottery and puts him in a position to succeed.