Ayo Dosunmu is the Chicago Bulls rookie the city needed, and the league passed on

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

It’s been a whirlwind of a year for Chicago Bulls rookie Ayo Dosunmu. At one point during his career at Illinois, he was talked about as a lottery pick.

Then, came the 2021 NBA Draft. Dosunmu failed to hear his name called at all in the first round, which undoubtedly deflating for a guy who took over many games over his time with the Illini. This was supposed to be his moment.

Instead, Dosunmu fell to the second round where his hometown Bulls couldn’t pass him up.

It was fate. Dosunmu was staying home in the black and red.

What he has done over his first 27 games is nothing short of excellent. He wasn’t supposed to be on the court this much, so soon. But, he has taken his opportunity and ran with it.

This Chicago Bulls team would feel incomplete without Ayo Dosunmu, who has found his groove as a rookie.

When comparing Dosunmu to the rest of the rookie class this year, he doesn’t necessarily jump off the page. Studying rookie leaders in terms of scoring, assists, rebounds and steals, Dosunmu is not among the leaders.

In fact, there’s only one areas he ranks high in, and that’s from beyond the arc.

Dosunmu ranks fourth among rookies this season in three-point percentage at 41.5, among qualified players (min. 10 attempts on the season).

Now, he has made 17 threes on the year. But, the majority of them have felt like big shots. He’s made several in the fourth quarter, firing away with absolutely no fear in a big moment. The best part about that is the fact that his teammates trust him to take those shots.

Chicago media has continually taken the quote from Billy Donovan and used it over and over. Donovan called Dosunmu “fearless,” and the label rings true game-in and game-out. The kid is unafraid of the moment. He’s going to go all-out on defense late in the game when each possession is crucial, but he’ll also take an important shot without hesitation.

Only playing 17.9 minutes per game, Dosunmu has done a little bit of everything. He’s surrounded by plenty of talent, especially when it comes to shot creators and scorers. Obviously, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball are going to dominate most of the offense.

These guys are going to touch the ball more than anybody on the roster.

That’s why it feels awfully impressive for Dosunmu to post a per-36-minute line of 12.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

He isn’t put into a position where he’s got to do too much, which is nice for a second-round pick. But at the same time, he’s not being treated like the average second rounder. Dosunmu has played far more than many may have believed when he was drafted.

The injury to Coby White helped Dosunmu’s playing time, but even after White came back, the rookie has found himself on the court, even starting a couple of games. Dosunmu doesn’t feel like a “fill-in.” He’s become part of the rotation, and even thinking about removing him or limiting his minutes feels like a mistake.

Dosunmu has really come into his own — a lot more than anyone may have anticipated. He’s not just on his way to becoming a staple on this team. He’s already there.