Ayo Dosumnu has already been a really good defender and he is only a rookie.
On January 17th, Ayo Dosunmu stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, four steals, and two blocks in a 119-106 loss in Memphis.
Defense is a cornerstone of the Illinois product’s game. This was on full display against Memphis in only his fourth start of the season and in the third Bulls game in four days.
Dosunmu’s 10 defensive rebounds, four steals, and two blocks remain career highs for him. He impressively finished with a plus/minus of +1 in a 13-point loss in which DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Coby White all finished at -16. He played for 38 minutes, meaning the Bulls were -14 in the 10 minutes that Dosunmu was on the bench.
The most impressive feat that he achieved that night in Memphis has to do with his matchup which was the similarly numbered point guard and All-Star starter Ja Morant. Morant faced a plethora of Bulls defenders but none more than the hard-nosed rookie.
Dosunmu acted as Morant’s primary defender for 6:52 out of 10:58 minutes that Morant spent on offense. In these almost seven minutes, one of the most versatile scorers in the league mustered four points on 2-for-5 shooting, a measly 10% of his team’s 40 points during the stretch.
When Morant faced a primary defender that wasn’t Ayo Dosunmu, he scored 21 points and was 7-for-12 shooting in just over four offensive minutes, scoring 68% of his team’s 34 points.
This season, Morant averages 38.3 points per 100 possessions, yet only 10.4 when his primary defender is Ayo Dosunmu. That’s a huge victory for the Bulls’ rookie against the former rookie of the year.