Once it became clear that Lonzo Ball wouldn’t be starting at the point for the Chicago Bulls on opening night — and for many nights thereafter — the team was suddenly faced with a slew of questions.
Could they possibly hope to contend without Ball’s defense and playmaking. Were they even a playoff team anymore? And which of the Bulls’ other backcourt options would be called upon to fill his spot?
It didn’t take long for Bulls Nation to receive an answer to the latter question — second-year guard and hometown hero Ayo Dosunmu was given first crack at joining the first five. Flash forward to now and, much as he did late last season, the 22-year-old has acquitted himself well in relief of Lonzo.
Through six games, Dosunmu is averaging 12.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 steals per outing. He has also posted stellar shooting splits of 51-46-100.
Should the Bulls strike a winning chord with Dosunmu maintaining a high level of output, one can’t help but wonder what the team will do when/if Ball returns to some level of health this season.
GM Drops Truth Bomb Dosunmu vs Lonzo
Would head coach Billy Donovan actually consider letting it ride with Dosunmu and bringing Ball off the bench? An Eastern Conference GM weighed in on the possibility while talking to Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney.
“Ayo has been great, he has such a solid NBA game, he fits better than he did in college,” the GM told Deveney. “But he’s still a young guy and a second-round pick and the politics of the NBA mean it will be pretty much impossible for him to knock off Lonzo once Lonzo is healthy.”
However, the rival exec could envision a scenario in which the Bulls back the younger — and cheaper — Dosunmu at some point. He just can’t see a changing of the (point) guard happening in the immediate future, regardless of how well Dosunmu plays.
“They could get Lonzo healthy then look to trade him down the line to give the job to Ayo, but we’re talking next year for that. You need to get Lonzo back on the floor and playing well first.”
The Latest on Lonzo’s Recovery
As of this writing, it has been a full month since Ball underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Initially, it was deemed that he’d be reevaluated by doctors four to six weeks after going under the knife. However, updates on his progress have been few and far between.
Not even his coach knows when exactly fans can expect to see him back on the hardwood.
“I have not heard anything as of yet with that,” Donovan said earlier this week. “He’s doing good. He feels like he’s progressing. He’s pretty optimistic and positive about everything. I think the biggest thing with the surgery is the incision healing in order to continue to make progress, and I just don’t know how far along he is in that process.”
In other words, Bulls fans probably shouldn’t be holding their breath at this juncture.