Bulls’ Ayo Dosunmu Works on Critical Weakness in Latest IG Video [WATCH]

Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls

Getty Ayo Dosunmu #12 of the Chicago Bulls.

This past season was the antithesis of the surprising 2021-22 campaign from Chicago Bulls’ guard Ayo Dosunmu.

The former second-round pick and Chicago native opened the regular season as the starting point guard but a severe regression in efficiency led to a bench role. Dosunmu went from shooting 50.5% on pull-ups and knocking down over 37.6% of his threes as a rookie to 37.3% on pull-up jumpers and 31.2% from deep as a sophomore, per NBA.com.

To that end, fans will be happy to know that Dosunmu, 23, has been in the gym working toward getting back to and improving upon his impressive inaugural campaign that led to his being named to the 2021-22 All-Rookie Second Team.

A restricted free agent this summer, Dosunmu could generate some interest on the open market but there have been questions about how to best utilize him.

A questionable jump shot coming out of college found the bottom of the net enough times in his rookie year but he struggled to hit anything outside of the painted area — where he still sunk over 62% of his looks from 10 feet and in — this past season. Dosunmu’s assist percentage also fell 3.3% offsetting a 1.9% improvement in his turnover rate.

Despite all of that, the Bulls were better with Dosunmu on the floor this year compared to last.

Chicago sported a net rating of minus-5.3 with Dosunmu in the game in 2021-22, per Cleaning The Glass. But this past season that rating improved to minus-2.2; still not where it needs to be but still a significant improvement as he navigated a trying campaign.

Bulls Could Choose Between Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White

Dosunmu, who likely put in similar work coming into this past season, could very well follow a similar path to the player he could be in direct competition against for a new contract with the Bulls: fifth-year guard Coby White whose extensive offseason work last summer paid off with an improved feel for the game, confidence, and handle despite his counting stats not reflecting it.

He did still connect on 37.2% of his deep looks.

Unfortunately for Dosunmu, the Bulls could be choosing between one of their young guards this summer.

“White is a restricted free agent, and the Bulls are all in on matching any offer he gets on the market,” reported Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times on April 22. “Karnisovas wants to keep Dosunmu in the mix, but that will be tough.”

An anonymous NBA executive told Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney something similar.

“I am sure they will match any deal he gets,” the executive told Heavy Sports ahead of this past year. “But another team can make things difficult by putting in a balloon payment in the third year…Look out for a rebuilding team like the Spurs or Jazz or Magic on that. Especially San Antonio, he is their kind of player.”

The executive presumed a step forward from Dosunmu which did not happen. But he has still shown enough maturity, toughness, and durability to warrant a look from another team.

Bulls Could Play ‘Hardball’ With Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White

While Dosunmu is a priority for the Bulls, he is not their most pressing issue. That is still unrestricted free agent Nikola Vucevic who an anonymous general manager tells Deveney could impact the Bulls’ waiting things out on Dosunmu and White.

“A lot of their situation depends on what happens with Vucevic and then Ayo and Coby White,” the general manager told Heavy Sports. “Those (last) two guys are restricted and maybe Chicago plays hardball with them…If they keep Vucevic and Ayo for about $30 million in the first year, they can use the full midlevel to help their shooting.”

The full midlevel exception is worth $10.5 million in 2023-24, per Spotrac.

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