The Chicago Bulls have a big decision to make and Ayo Dosunmu will play a large role in it, writes Sam Smith in his “Ask Sam” mailbag. Drafted 38th overall last June, all Dosunmu did throughout his rookie campaign was prove that several teams made a mistake.
Chicago heads into a critical offseason with a lot hinging on Zach LaVine’s decision. But they will have to improve the roster regardless. As NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer explained, White is one of the few remaining trade chips the Bulls have.
Whether or not they can afford to part with him could depend on Dosunmu’s ascension.
Dosunmu Fits Bulls Better Than White
Dosunmu came up thanks to a question about how he would like to see the Bulls use their mid-level exception. The reader had added that they hoped to see White develop as a catch-and-shoot option while Dosunmu improved as a point guard.
Smith offered up counters to both of those while explaining why Dosunmu could ultimately be a better fit for this Bulls team.
Catch and shoot is badly needed. I’m not sure that is Coby since he seems to be more comfortable off the dribble. Actually, it could be Ayo. He also to me didn’t look like a point guard, but I believe he could develop into a 3-D catch-and-shoot kind of guy.
White averaged career-lows with 12.7 points on 56.4% true shooting with 3.0 rebounds per game. But he also shot career-highs from the floor (43.3%) and beyond the arc (38.5%).
Dosunmu averaged 8.8 points on 59.6% true shooting with 3.3 assists and 2.8 boards.
White shot 40.4% on catch-and-shoot tries compared to 36.2% on pull-ups, per NBA.com. He was better on those looks than Dosunmu who shot just 38.9%. Dosunmu was better on catch-and-shoot threes – knocking them down at a 38.4% clip – than he was on pull-ups (22.2%).
Bulls Have to Consider Both Ends of the Floor
In his exit interview, White mentioned that coaches urged him to get stronger this offseason to improve his ball-handling and defense. The problem for White is that Dosunmu may already have the upper hand in both areas.
Dosunmu seems to play better from the corners and with his reach can defend. He doesn’t handle the ball well, but his biggest problem seems to be a reluctance to shoot under pressure and then a deliberate shot when he does. He can improve that. I’d say maybe 1,000 shots per day with someone in his face.
Dosunmu posted a 116.5 defensive rating, per Cleaning The Glass, while White’s defensive rating was 115.9. But the former was taking on opponents’ best perimeter threats at multiple positions as well as running the Bulls’ offense.
White has not proven to be as valuable when his shot is not falling.
Both players are entering into the final year of their deals, though, meaning the Bulls could have a decision to make.
Another Challenging Summer
Smith closed his response by noting that this summer should provide another challenge for Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas. He has remade this roster in just two seasons and noted his regime’s aggressiveness in his exit interview.
Only LaVine and White predate Karnisovas’ tenure.
Karnosovas also repeatedly mentioned continuity and noted how the teams still playing were largely built organically.
As true as that may be, many of those teams also made timely moves as recently as the trade deadline to get them over the top. White could be collateral in a move that helps the Bulls achieve similar results.