Ayo Dosunmu Opens Up About Being Named Bulls’ Starting Point Guard

Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls

Getty Ayo Dosunmu #12 of the Chicago Bulls reacts to game action.

The Chicago Bulls have a new starting point guard in Ayo Dosunmu, the former 38th-overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Dosunmu earned the starting job – left vacant by the injury to Lonzo Ball – with strong play in the preseason that built off of what he showed last season.

He started 40 games as a rookie with 38 of them coming after Ball was unofficially lost for the season.

A Chicago native, Dosunmu came into the season mire in a four-way battle for the job.

He would end up outplaying the likes of veterans Alex Caruso and offseason addition Goran Dragic as well as Coby White, though the latter was not really in consideration judging by what his head coach, Billy Donovan, had to say. After Donovan told the media about Dosunmu winning the starting point guard job, the second-year pro shared his thoughts.

Dosunmu Vows to Lock In

“I’m gonna really lock in this week,” Dosunmu said of his newfound responsibility. “A lot of film. Try to just get better. Study my guys. Study our team on both ends of the court so I can be out there and be the main leader to get us going.”

He already has a lot of experience to draw from.

The 6-foot-4 Dosunmu averaged 10.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while starting every game this preseason.

He shot 51.9% from the floor and, even more important, 54.5% from beyond the arc. On a team that was efficient but light on three-point shooting, Dosumu’s ability to spread the floor around DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine is going to be key.

“I shot last year pretty good off the catch,” Dosunmu said, “but I wanted to be more efficient there. I want to be a knockdown catch-and-shoot guy.” (h/t Rob Schaefer/NBC Sports C

Dosunmu shot 37.6% on threes last season and, to his point, 38.4% on catch-and-shoot looks.

But, as much as the Bulls need him to be a capable shooter from long range, that is not what Donovan cited when announcing his decision.

“I like having Ayo out there from a defensive standpoint,” said Donovan.

Growing up in Chicago, the opportunity that lies ahead of him is not lost on the 22-year-old Dosunmu.

“I’m thankful because this is a great organization and we have a chance to do something special. So, for me to be named the point guard of that, that’s a blessing. I’m continuing to work hard. Take it day by day. Get better. Looking forward to getting better. Looking forward to growing with the team. And come out swinging from the get-go.”

That blessing could be an expensive one for the Bulls if Dosunmu lives up to expectations this season.

He is headed for restricted free agency next summer and things could get interesting.

Lonzo Ball’s Advice

Ball is expected to be out through New Year’s Day. But Dosunmu opened up about the advice he recently received from the injured starter, perhaps a sign that both players had a good idea that the job was indeed Dosunmu’s well in advance of Donovan’s formal announcement.

Regardless, Ball’s advice was sound.

“He told me about…the pace of the game, and understanding where and knowing the personnel of my teammates,” Dosunmu said of Ball. “Just knowing where they like to get the ball at. Just being a student of the game. Managing the game.”

That last bit may be the most important as the Bulls were often prone to long stretches of listless basketball marred by lazy passes which led to turnovers and ill-advised shots.

The Bulls have “tweaked” their offense (to quote Donovan) this summer.

They intend on creating more randomness to prevent defenses from loading up on DeRozan and LaVine. That is going to mean more ball movement – a major issue without Ball last season.

Dosunmu will still need to be the one to get things back in order when they go awry. Donovan has already said he wants to limit Dragic’s minutes, at least in the regular season.

Caruso has been vocal about preferring to finish games while also coming with injury concerns.

Some Unfinished Business

Point guard was not the only position the Bulls were apparently sorting out this preseason. They also trotted out three different starting power forwards with each of Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr., and Patrick Williams earning a shot.

Donovan said that there is a chance they just roll with a 10-man rotation this season while also adding that the starting power forward job may not be a settled issue.

That could mean any number of things. But it is not a ringing endorsement of Williams which is less than ideal given all that was expected of him in his third season and coming off of a quiet offseason by the Bulls.

All eyes will be on the October 19 opener against the Miami Heat for the next chapter in this saga

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