Grading hometown guard Ayo Dosunmus’ first NBA season

Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Now that the 2022 NBA draft has concluded with the Chicago Bulls selecting Arizona forward Dalen Terry 18th overall, now is a good time to look back on the Bulls’ prized draft selection from last year’s 2021 NBA, guard Ayo Dosunmu.

With Dosunmu making the All-Rookie Second team alongside other talented rookies Josh Giddey, Bones Hyland, Chris Duarte, and fellow second-round pick standout, Herb Jones, his play surpassed the wildest expectations the Bulls front office had for him.

Dosunmu had many highlights throughout the 2021-22 NBA season, may it be the dunk to secure the win against the Pacers or leading the Bulls to a win with star duo Zach Lavine and DeMar DeRozan missing, by scoring a season-high 26 points against the playoff-bound Timberwolves.

Since two of the Bulls’ major offseason acquisitions, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, ended up missing long periods of time, Dosunmu was thrown into the fire. Ayo would go on to receive a much larger role than many expected. The Illinois product started 40 games and in those games, he averaged 10.9 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds, an exceptional performance from the 38th pick.

Ayo Dosunmu showed major flashes of potential last season on the Chicago Bulls, but what does the future look like for the second-year guard?

With those numbers, Dosunmu is in great company by joining All-Stars LaMelo Ball, Derrick Rose, and Magic Johnson as guards who have averaged over 10.5 points, 5.5 assists, and 4 rebounds per game in their rookie season, setting a great precedent moving forward.

As great as Dosunmu was, he did eventually run into some struggles, with them notably coming against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, in the Bulls’ first-round playoff defeat. In the playoffs, Dosunmu saw his minutes cut from 27 minutes per game in the regular season to just 17 in the playoffs. Additionally, his numbers had a big drop off as well, averaging just 4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, whilst shooting just 30% from the field.

With playoff experience and an all-rookie selection under his belt, Dosunmu will be expected to continue the improvement on from last year, especially due to the uncertainty still surrounding the knee of star guard Lonzo Ball.

Ayo majorly contributed to the Chicago Bulls making the playoffs for the first time since 2017 and ultimately won over the hearts of fans with his defensive effort and tenacity. For these reasons, Dosunmu receives a glowing review for his rookie season, but there’s always room to improve.

Grade: A-

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