The Chicago Bulls are putting a lot of eggs in the Patrick Williams basket. To this point, Williams has flashed tremendous potential but has yet to put it all together consistently for myriad reasons.
However, another Bulls youngster has arguably shown more to start his career.
Williams will still get a lot of the headlines as a former fourth-overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft and the first draft choice of the current front office regime’s tenure.
But, if they were targeting tangible traits with Williams – size, length, skill set – they went in a different direction the following year, targeting intangibles such as energy and leadership through effort with Ayo Dosunmu.
The Bulls selected Dosunmu with the 38th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft with their only selection. Despite a decorated collegiate career at the University of Illinois that included back-to-back All-Conference selections, he still slid.
He went on to start 40 games for a Bulls team that was ravaged by injuries, particularly at the guard spot.
Instead of being overwhelmed, Dosunmu thrived, as Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley explains.
“Dosunmu’s first-year effort didn’t fly completely off the radar—he did snag a spot on the All-Rookie second team—but we might have all taken it for granted. What he did was not normal; he was just so smooth in his execution that he made it appear as such.”
The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 8.8 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game during the regular season.
“Dosunmu didn’t wow with volume, but his efficiency would’ve impressed had it come from a five-year veteran, let alone a rookie second-rounder. He shot 52 percent overall and 37.6 percent from range, and he more than doubled his 1.4 turnovers with 3.3 assists.”
But he took off once inserted into the starting lineup following Lonzo Ball’s knee injury.
Dosumu averaged 11.0 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.4 boards with 1.1 steals while slashing .521/.357/.775 and still turned the ball over just 1.8 times per contest from January 15 on.
Second to None
Dosunmu’s emergence has already put Coby White’s future in question. Both are heading into the final year of their contracts. The second-year man has already put the latter’s future with the Bulls in question with his performance.
But what does this mean for Williams?
There is outside pressure after the performance of Williams’ fellow Florida State University alum, Scottie Barnes, for the Toronto Raptors this past season as a rookie. Barnes walked away with Rookie of the Year honors. He will also be pushed this season by teammate and 18th-overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Dalen Terry.
Financials aren’t as big of a concern as they are with White for Williams, an All-Rookie selection in his own right.
He still has a club option for the 2024 season on his deal after this season, per Spotrac.
But Williams’ passiveness could grow old for a team out to prove it is more like the version that was in first place in the Eastern Conference on February 24 than the one that finished the regular season as the six-seed.
Conversely, Dosunmu’s development could buy Williams more time since the Bulls aren’t pressed for a versatile, two-way playmaker as a cash-strapped (and frugal) team.
No matter how you look at it, Dosunmu has already exceeded expectations.
Dosunmu Is Chicago
The impressive Dosunmu is taking his talents to the screen. He is set to appear on an episode of the HBO Max series, “Southside”. Hometown players hold a special place in a fanbase’s hearts and Chicago is no different.
Dosunmu might not reach the heights fellow Chicago-native Derrick Rose did or make Williams and/or White expendable.
But he doesn’t have to.
He is already making his mark in a city and for a team that is rich in basketball history despite being “underrated”.
May not be as good as Rose?I love Rose but after 1 season don’t count ayo out…he may end up better than rose… only time will tell