“Ayo was big,” said DeRozan,” per Sam Smith of Bulls.com on November 13. “I checked in for him and told him first thing coming out, ‘That second quarter was because of you.’ The energy he brought, getting out in transition, getting those layups, getting those steals. I let him know without him that quarter wouldn’t have happened.”
Dosunmu had four points, two steals, and one assist in under eight minutes in the third quarter.
Those modest stats don’t illustrate his impact as well as DeRozan’s sentiments or his plus-19 plus-minus in the frame do. Dosunmu finished the game with 13 points, three steals, three assists, and one rebound in a season-high 26 minutes and 38 seconds.
“Ayo gave us a huge boost,” said head coach Billy Donovan after closing the game with the third-year guard on the floor.
Dosunmu was taking the spot of the injured Alex Caruso, who missed the game.
The team’s top pick in 2021, Dosunmu is averaging 6.0 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists this season. The numbers are a step back from even last season, which was a step back from his impressive rookie season in which he earned All-Rookie Second Team honors. Dosunmu is still shooting career-highs at 54.6% from the floor overall and 46.7% from beyond the arc.
“We have a very deep team,” Dosunmu said, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago on November 12. “You have to be a true professional and be ready to seize the moment any given night. … You have to be ready at all times.”
Ayo Dosunmu Maximizing Opportunities With Bulls
Dosunmu was the starting point guard at the outset of last season. He would lose the role twice during the campaign and was an afterthought in the battle this preseason. From the very beginning of this trend, though, Dosunmu has remained team-oriented, and that hasn’t changed even as his role has been limited.
“Any time you can help give some energy to our team, it’s a positive,” Dosunmu said, per Smith. “Me coming off the bench, I can see what the game needs. And I think that’s something I’ve taken away from coming off the bench.
“I know it’s a long season. I know we have a pretty deep team. The better I get, the more I can push the team. That will help the team down the road.”
Ayo Dosunmu Gets Honest About Free Agency
The Bulls re-signed Dosunmu, a Chicago native, on a three-year, $21 million contract this past offseason. He was a restricted free agent meaning the Bulls always had the final say on where Dosnumu would play this season. But there were rumors that they could let him walk or trade him this summer.
The positional logjam and a team could have signed him to an unfavorable offer sheet.
Dosunmu, who has been close with DeRozan since entering the league, admitted that he was unsure about how it would all play out in the end.
“I wouldn’t say I really thought about it, but being in the NBA, the business of it, it was always a possibility,” Dosunmu said, per Cody Westerlund of 670 The Score. “I always knew that – you never know what could happen.”