Bulls Rookie Becoming Hyper Efficient Scorer

Getty Ayo Dosunmu

Ayo Dosunmu has become a major contributor for the Chicago Bulls in recent weeks, and recently he’s taken full advantage of playing for a loaded team.

The 21-year-old might not blow anyone away with his pedestrian stat line of 6.4 points and 2.2 rebounds, but his newfound shot-selection is eye-popping.


Elite Shot-Selection

Over the past seven games, after returning from health and safety protocols, Dosunmu is hitting 68.8% of his shots from the field, including 55.6% from behind the three-point line.

This is all fairly low volume, as Dosunmu has attempted just 4.6 shots per game during that span, but nevertheless, there’s a stark improvement in his shot-selection over that time.

Of Bulls players having played 20 or more games this season, Dosunmu ranks third on the team in “wide open” shot attempts (shots where the closest defender is six feet or more away from the shooter), per NBA.com.

Dosunmu has become excellent at playing off of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, both of whom rank among the lowest on the team in wide open shot attempts. The defensive attention geared towards the All-Star duo has thus benefitted the rookie who now fills the lanes and spots up open in the corners.

During Friday’s win against Washington, Dosunmu hit 7-of-9 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 from downtown, finishing with a career-high 18 points in 31 minutes played.

The rookie has had 10 games this season hitting over 75% of his shots in a game, and 18 games with over 50%. It’s still early, but for Dosunmu to already recognize where he has an advantage, and using opposing game plans to fly under the radar, is encouraging.

On the season, Dosunmu is hitting 54.2% from the field, and 44.0% from behind the long line, and is sporting a TS% of 61.8.

Digging into Dosunmu’s numbers a bit more, and something intriguing is unveiled.

According to Basketball-Reference, Dosunmu takes just 10.4% of his shots from the mid-range area, instead relying on shots from within 10 feet (56.8% of his attempts) and the three-point shot (32.7% of his shots).

That type of shot profile will only help clear space for LaVine, DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic in the mid-range and post area.


The Future of Ayo

Dosunmu, who will turn 22 on January 17, doesn’t project to necessarily become a high-volume shot-taker in the future, unless his role dramatically changes.

Instead, he seems to be rounding out his game off the bench, becoming more confident and more comfortable with extended minutes, and understanding the responsibility of providing steady production in the second unit.

Defensively, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard can check three positions fairly competently, and could develop into a high-impact defender with a long career as a steady presence either coming off the bench or getting spot-starter duty.

In fact, given that the Bulls are currently starting Derrick Jones Jr in place of injured Patrick Williams, it’s fair to wonder if head coach Billy Donovan should experiment with Dosunmu in the starting line-up.

The rookie has two starts to his name so far, and did very well in his first-ever start during Chicago’s road win against Denver on December 6, putting up 11 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists.

Donovan could slide DeRozan up the four, where he plays most of his minutes anyway, and slide Dosunmu into a dual-wing role with LaVine, allowing the youngster some early run-time where he feeds off the attention catered to Chicago’s stars.

Regardless of what the next step is, Dosunmu appears to be ready for it.

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