Ayo Dosunmu Sends Message on Cracking Bulls’ Rotation: ‘That’s All I Can Say’

Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls

Getty Ayo Dosunmu #12 of the Chicago Bulls.

Expectations have changed for Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu heading into his third NBA season.

Gone is the shine of his surprising rookie campaign that saw him go from the No. 38 overall pick to making the most total appearances on the Bulls and drawing 40 starts. It has been replaced with the disappointment of a mostly stagnant second year in which Dosunmu, 23, averaged 8.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists this past season but saw his three-point efficiency drop.

But that doesn’t mean Dosunmu’s expectations of himself have changed at all.

“I’m going to make a way. That’s all I can say,” Dosunmu said while appearing at a charity event in Chicago on July 28, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “I’ve always found a way. I’m going to continue to find a way.”

He will have to fight for it after the Bulls added Jevon Carter in free agency while also bringing back Coby White and still retaining stars Alex Caruso and Zach LaVine.

Caruso’s versatility allows him to fit almost anywhere and alongside anyone but Dosunmu’s lack of a consistent jump shot has the opposite effect. The latter did well as a floor-spacer in his first year, shooting 37.6% from beyond the arc but saw that number fall precipitously this past season to 31.2% despite him averaging an identical number of attempts.

His regression as a shooter and lack of progress as a playmaker had consequences.

Dosunmu entered the regular season last year as the starting point guard only to lose the role, not once, but twice as it never clicked for him. Now he is using that as his guide to come back as a more complete player.

“Just trying to learn from my mistakes,” he continued to Mayberry. “Understand the success I had my rookie year and then the stagnant play or the tough road I had a little bit in my sophomore season. My junior year in all of my basketball career has been my best season from high school to college. It’s always been the season where I took the next step. So I’m excited. I know the work that I put in and what I will show. I’m just ready for it.”

Bulls Were Always Likely to Re-Sign Ayo Dosunmu

Finding a spot for him is tough at this point because many of his skills overlap with players who may be easier to project for the Bulls next season given the way the offseason has shaken out. But, despite lingering in restricted free agency as one of the last to agree to any kind of deal, Dosunmu was always on the Bulls’ agenda.

“We’re still very high on,” an anonymous Bulls staffer told Keith Smith of Spotrac during Summer League in Las Vegas. “This is how restricted free agency can go sometimes. Don’t read anything into our opinion of him as a player just because he isn’t signed.”

Dosunmu signed a three-year, $21 million contract that gives him a slight bump from the roughly $5 million qualifying offer he received from the Bulls.

This is also easier to aggregate into larger packages for trades, which the Bulls have lacked.

Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White Eyeing Starting Roles

Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas reviewed Dosumu’s year, giving an honest assessment of the sophomore’s slump.

“You know I always want to come out here and compete,” Dosunmu told Mayberry. “Anybody who says they don’t want to start, they would be not telling the truth. But that’s something that will be taken care of in training camp.”

That is right in line with comments from White who re-signed on a three-year, $36 million contract before free agency officially opened, avoiding restricted free agency altogether.

White has also said still has eyes on earning a starting spot.

“You don’t come (into) the league thinking, ‘I’m cool coming off the bench,’ ” White told Mayberry in April. “Yeah, I’ll play whatever role for whatever team I’m on, for sure. But my goal is to be a starter. That ain’t gonna change.”

White, 23, did not put up eye-popping stats, in fact regressing in most areas. But he still shot 37.2% from beyond the arc and developed into more of a complete player, one that head coach Billy Donovan went so far as to say was becoming a “two-way” player e.g.capable of impacting the game on both ends.

Previous comments about the Bulls’ lineup possibilities from team staff could also suggest that Dosunmu will have to find a way to make an impact rather than have the clear path he’s had. It’s shaping up to be a very big season for several parts of this group.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments