1. Ayo Dosunmu
Last season, we were treated to the unexpected rise of Ayo Dosunmu as he filled in for Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso in the starting lineup, surpassing all expectations in the process. While he came out on fire and playing better than anyone anticipated, he would eventually fizzle out, fatigued by the immense workload placed on his shoulders on both ends of the court.
Right now, it feels like we’re in the process of watching Ayo become over-encumbered with two-way responsibility all over again. In six games in October, Dosunmu averaged 12.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.2 assists on excellent efficiency, shooting 50.8% from the field and 45.8% from beyond the arc. His last six games, however, have been far less promising. He’s currently posting 11.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists, on 49.1% shooting and 30.4% from deep.
It’s simply unfair to expect a sophomore second-round draft pick to log in excess of 30 or more minutes per game and still be a competent option on offense, all while guarding the opposing team’s best backcourt threat.
Ayo Dosunmu needs some assistance in the Chicago Bulls’ backcourt.
Given that Ayo is trotted out to defend some of the most dynamic players in the NBA on the perimeter, it’s not all that surprising he currently holds Chicago’s worst plus/minus at -27. No other player on the roster has posted a mark below -7.
Fortunately, plus/minus is largely a team-based statistic and does not necessarily mean Ayo himself has been playing poorly. That being said, it’s become increasingly obvious he’s not in a role where he can afford to give 100% of his maximum effort during every minute spent on the court. This comes in stark contrast to, for example, his teammate Caruso coming off the bench.
The success of the bench unit for the Chicago Bulls this year is also a major factor here, as Caruso and Goran Dragic are tied for first on the Bulls with a +43 plus/minus this month. Moving forward, I believe Dragic has proven he can handle a larger role, which means Dosunmu can get the necessary amount of rest to continue playing like the best version of himself.
Obviously, the return of Lonzo Ball would immediately amend this whole situation. Until then, however, the Bulls must put Dosunmu in a position where he can be the best version of himself.