Ayo and Coby’s consistency even more vital with Lonzo Ball out 6-8 weeks

Coby White, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Coby White, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White have been getting more valuable minutes as of late with the Chicago Bulls challenged by injuries. Those minutes will be even more valuable in the next 6-8 weeks.

The team announced Thursday afternoon that starting point guard Lonzo Ball would be out for 6-8 weeks to get surgery and heal a torn meniscus in his right knee. Lonzo could have opted to play through it, but the training staff has seemed to deem it smarter for Ball to let the injury subside and to have Ball fully healthy when he returns to the lineup.

While this injury is news that really sucks for an already short-handed Bulls roster, there is some light to be shined upon the team’s future without their starting point guard. Ball’s replacements have been playing really well.

White has found his groove with 13 straight games in double figures. Whether in the starting lineup or off the bench, White has been productive offensively for the Bulls.

What’s been even more impressive besides the microwave scoring is the defensive improvement of White. While not an amazing defender, he has had stretches of very solid defense for the Bulls, and his strong hustling effort is clearly on both sides of the ball, something we did not see nearly as much in previous seasons.

White registered four steals alongside 16 points in a big win for the Bulls Wednesday night vs the Cleveland Cavaliers to snap a four-game skid.

How will Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White step up for the Chicago Bulls with Lonzo Ball out?

It seems clear that even though early on it was a competition of minutes, now Coby’s overall game is being strengthened and complemented by his rookie teammate Ayo. The two have become a bit of a dynamic spark duo off the bench and filling in for an injured starting five.

So many good things can be said about Dosunmu and it’s because the kid plays like a veteran. He makes smart plays physically and mentally. He prevents his star teammates like DeMar DeRozan from picking up technicals due to his ability to read a situation like a veteran. Most importantly, his aggressiveness and presence are felt on both sides of the floor.

White isn’t the only player Ayo has complimented on the court as of late, as with extra minutes, Ayo has taken on more of a playmaking role on the offensive end.

The rookie point guard is on an amazing stretch lately especially over the last three games where has averaged 18 points per game, eight assists, six rebounds, two steals, and one block. In that span, he has shot the lights out with 70 percent from three, and 77 percent overall.

The key for this dynamic punch for the Bulls is whether or not they can consistently keep it up for the next 6-8 weeks. It’s also worth wondering if one, or both of them, will return to the bench when players like Javonte Green and Zach LaVine return. Even right now, Alex Caruso’s spot in the lineup is to be determined as he is currently on a minutes restriction.

One thing is for sure though. As valuable as Lonzo Ball is to this Bulls team, they have much more guard depth to weather the storm of his absence. Coach Billy Donovan has to feel comfortable knowing guards that come off his bench when the team is fully healthy, can come in and give the team starter minutes.

The thing that can be most looked forward to despite the injury is the valuable minutes Ayo and Coby will get as two very young guards. Especially Dosunmu, in a rookie season where his minutes haven’t always been consistent.

Dosunmu has already seemed to have gotten more comfortable with more minutes and responsibility. He seems to have taken every challenge head-on.

The same can be said for White, who for a long time was in many trade rumors surrounding the Bulls deadline. He for sure isn’t going anywhere now, as he’s proved pivotal to the roster.

Going into this season, there were many questions surrounding both of these young guards. There was the question of whether they would both be able to fit into the future landscape of a great Bulls team.

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Now, however, the Bulls will rely heavily on their second-round draft pick out of Illinois and the only draft pick left from the Gar/Pax era whose future was in doubt. White and Ayo Dosunmu will be just as valuable to the Bulls as DeRozan in this next stretch run.