SLAM x Panini Rookie Spotlight: Chicago Bulls Rookie Ayo Dosunmu

Nearly 3 months back, as the NBA season was simply getting underway, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan informed press reporters that novice Ayo Dosunmu was “fearless.” 

“He’s got a certain kind of makeup that I think is really special,” Donovan stated. “He’s ultra-competitive and he has unbelievable confidence and belief in himself. But it’s not cross-the-line arrogant. That’s really a hard combination.”

Dosunmu had actually simply scored 14 points without missing out on a shot in simply his 6th NBA getaway. It was clear to Donovan then that the 6-5 guard, who was up to the Bulls in the 2nd round of the 2021 Draft, was currently deserving of an area in the rotation. After 3 years at Illinois, in which Dosunmu led the group in scoring every season and was a finalist for the Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy as a junior, the Chicago native can be found in all set to contribute right now. Throughout the month of November, he balanced 6.8 points on 52 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent from 3.

In December, as increasingly more gamers started evaluating favorable for COVID, Dosunmu entered a larger function. He made his very first profession start on December 6th, taping 11 points, 8 helps and 6 rebounds in a 109-97 win over the Nuggets. Coach Donovan restated the very same message about the rook later on: “For me, so much—and I said this way back when—it’s his makeup. It’s who he is as a competitor. There may be guys that shoot it better than him. There may be guys that are faster than him. There may be guys more athletic than him. But he’s got a big heart and he competes and he impacts winning.”

Over the previous week, with numerous crucial people sidelined due to injury or COVID, the Bulls have actually struggled to discover consistency. Dosunmu has actually been an enormous brilliant area, nevertheless, continuing to make substantial strides with an increased chance. On Saturday, he got the beginning nod once again and notched a career-high in points (21) and helps (10). He shot 9/10 from the field too, ending up being the very first novice in NBA history to have at least 20 points and 10 helps while shooting 90 percent. Though the Bulls directly lost to the Celtics, 114-112, Dosumnu did a bit of whatever, consisting of protect Jayson Tatum for much of the night. According to NBA tracking information, in 2 matches versus Boston, Dosunmu has actually held the previous All-Star to simply 4/13 shooting.

Two days later on, on his 22nd birthday, Dosunmu installed another outrageous stat-line in a nationally-televised video game versus the Grizzlies: 15 points (on 7/12 shooting), 10 rebounds, 6 helps, 4 takes and 2 blocks. He likewise accepted the difficulty of protecting super star Ja Morant, obstructing his shot as soon as and requiring him into several turnovers. 

The Bulls remained in desperate requirement of a win on Wednesday, and Dosunmu provided yet once again. He tallied 18 points (on 7/8 from the field and 3/4 from 3), 8 helps and 3 rebounds, assisting Chicago get a 117-104 success over Cleveland. That string of 3 video games, starting in Boston, has to do with as excellent as it obtains from a novice.

Dosunmu doesn’t play out of control on offense, however he isn’t tentative, either. He attacks off the bounce, browses to the paint and kicks it out to open shooters. When his colleagues do the very same (generally DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine), he finds up behind the arc and lets it fly without doubt. His three-point portion (45.7) ranks initially amongst novices who have actually tried more than 12 this season (Dosunmu is 32/70). He looks comfy as a playmaker out of pick-and-rolls, utilizing a little floater in the lane or bring up for midrange jumpers. 

On the other end, he hasn’t pulled back from protecting the opposing group’s finest boundary gamer. He protects with high energy and does whatever he perhaps can to interrupt his match’s rhythm. So far this year, he has actually done an outstanding task on elite scorers such as Bradley Beal, Trae Young, Luka Doncic, Caris LeVert, Cade Cunningham and the previously mentioned Tatum and Morant. With Bulls point player Lonzo Ball anticipated to miss out on 4-6 weeks after a treatment on his left knee, Dosunmu ought to continue to get huge minutes and handle difficult protective projects.

Of course, the significant factors Dosunmu has actually grown in his increased function have actually been apparent to the Bulls company from the first day: he is ultra-competitive, very positive in his capabilities and absolutely brave. Now those things are ending up being apparent to everybody. 

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