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Bulls’ Ayo Dosunmu earns spot on All-Rookie Second Team

congrats to Ayo!

NBA: APR 08 Hornets at Bulls Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was a bit surprising that Ayo Dosunmu dropped to No. 38 in the 2021 NBA Draft, and the Bulls promptly scooped up the hometown product after he starred at the University of Illinois for three years. While my expectations weren’t all that high for Ayo as a rookie, he was thrust into major playing time due to injuries and COVID-19 and performed admirably, earning himself a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team.

Here’s a look at the voting:

Dosunmu saw limited minutes at first, but he took advantage of some opportunities in high-profile games. He had 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting in that ridiculous comeback in Boston. He had 15 points in a big home win over the Nets. By December he was playing over 25 minutes per game, and once the calendar flipped to 2022 he played over 30 minutes per game the rest of the regular season. With Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso dealing with injuries, Ayo got himself a whole lot of playing time.

Dosunmu showed off impressive defensive ability early in the season and even surprised with his shooting and playmaking when he filled in as the starting point guard. He wound up getting 40 starts in 77 games, averaging 8.8 points, 3.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds and just 1.4 turnovers while shooting 52.0% from the field and 37.6% from 3-point range in 27.4 minutes per game. He built a nice little rapport with Nikola Vucevic in the pick-and-roll as the starter.

Ayo’s outside shooting did tail off as the season wore on, as he shot 40.7% from 3 before the All-Star break and just 31.7% after. His defense also dipped a bit as the Bulls tanked on that end of the court as a team. This really was no surprise given the huge load he took on and as opponents adjusted while the schedule got more difficult. His season culminated in a disappointing performance against the Bucks in the playoffs. He averaged just 4.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 30.8% overall and 23.1% from 3-point range.

Despite this, the Bulls have to be thrilled with how Ayo’s rookie season turned out. He mostly acquitted himself well in a role not many envisioned him having so quickly. While he faded late, it seems the Bulls got a good one at No. 38.

Now the hope is the young guard takes a big step forward in Year 2. He needs to up his shooting volume (too many record scratches) and continue to get better defensively. While he showed a knack for feisty on-ball defense, he needs to improve his team defense. Dosunmu developing is especially important given the injury concerns for the rest of the backcourt, plus the uncertain future of Coby White. It would probably help the Bulls to bring in a veteran point guard, but the former Morgan Park star is a nice piece to have to play multiple positions, including the 1.

So, congrats to Ayo Dosunmu on a terrific rookie season. Onward and upward.