Lakers Have Workout with One of NBA Draft’s ‘Most Polished Scorers’

Justin Casterline/Getty Images Illinois junior guard Ayo Dosunmu

The Los Angeles Lakers welcomed several NBA draft prospects for workouts over the weekend. One of the draftees who came in to show his game off to the Lakers was Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu.

A native of Chicago, Dosunmu is projected to be selected somewhere in the late first round or early second round of the draft, so he is likely to be available when the Lakers will be on the clock with their No. 22 pick — their lone selection of the draft.

After his workout, Dosunmu detailed during a media session that it was “unreal” to play in Los Angeles because he admired the late Kobe Bryant — his favorite basketball player growing up — and his mentality.

“I try to just do it for him really,” Dosunmu said of Bryant. “That’s one of my motivations. He means a lot to me and to my basketball growth and my basketball mentality.”


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Dosunmu’s Background

Illinois’ star player, Dosunmu played three years in college before declaring for the NBA draft.

During his junior year, he made national headlines for his all-around play, averaging 20.1 points, 5.3 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 35.1 minutes over the course of 32 games. He led the Illini in scoring and minutes and became the first Illinois player to be voted as an Associated Press First-Team All-American, according to Illinois Athletics.

Dosunmu played a key role in helping Illinois win its first Big Ten Tournament championship since 2005, when former NBA guard Deron Williams starred on the team.

In addition, Dosunmu was named the USA Today National Player of the Year, the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year and a NCAA First-Team All-American. He was also a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Wooden Award.

At the NBA Draft Combine, the combo guard measured in at 6-foot-3.5 without shoes and 6-foot-5 with shoes in addition to having a 6-foot-10.25 wingspan.


Dosunmu’s Game

Following his workout, Dosunmu told the media that, during workouts, he tries to show teams that he is “a complete player” who can play on “both ends” of the court.

He showed that at Illinois. His 5.3 assists per game was good, and his 48.8% field goal percentage proves his scoring ability. From 3-point range, Dosunmu shot 39.0%. He also posted 1.1 steals per game, and his 6-feet, 10.25-inch wingspan can help him be an effective defender. As long as he can translate those abilities to the professional level, Dosunmu could be a solid combo guard in the NBA.


Illini Men's Basketball | The Best of Ayo DosunmuThe nation's most complete player, Ayo Dosunmu is the only player in the last 11 seasons to average at least 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists.2021-02-19T16:28:03Z

This past season, the Chicago native also averaged 5.1 free throw attempts per game, so he can also be an aggressive scorer. At 6.3 rebounds per game, Dosunmu also rebounds well for a perimeter player.

Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports raved about the former Illini’s scoring and briefly noted his playmaking:

Ayo Dosunmu is one of the most polished scorers in the draft. If his 3-point shooting can hold up it will take him to the next level, but he’s still incredibly valuable as a mid-range jump shooter and pick-and-roll playmaker.

When asked by reporters how he could help LeBron James and Anthony Davis should he be drafted by the Lakers, Dosunmu said he could help take pressure off the All-Star duo.

“I can score when needed,” Dosunmu said. “I can get in the lane and make passes, and I can defend multiple positions. So I just come in, play as hard as I can and try to do that. Try to just bring the spark, bring my talents, my versatility to help them.”


Dosunmu’s Limitations

The Athletic’s Zach Harper has Dosunmu going to the Lakers with the 22nd pick in his latest mock draft, but he made sure to point out the limitations with his playmaking and 3-point shooting abilities.

He’s a solid enough playmaker, but he’s a little sloppy with the ball and much more of a scorer than anything. His 3-point shot came around this year, but he didn’t even attempt three 3-pointers per game.

Furthermore, Dosunmu may be able to get to the free throw line, but his percentage from the charity stripe could use improvement. For a guard, the 78.3% he shot from the free throw line at Illinois this past season is expected to be better.

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