While the majority of the coverage on the Chicago Bulls has included Coby White’s breakout, Zach LaVine’s injuries, and their nonactivity in the trade market, one player is flying under the radar: Ayo Dosunmu.

Dosunmu burst onto the scene for the Bulls during their 3 month run atop the East in the 2021-22 season. He played carved out a role off the bench as the 38th pick in the draft, and proved to be a very good guard off the bench, playing great defense, hitting open threes, and handling the ball. He shot 37.6% from 3, slightly above league average that season, and made 2nd team All-rookie, helping the Bulls make the playoffs for the first time in 5 years.

However, Dosunmu fell into a sophomore slump, as his role increased heavily due to Lonzo Ball not returning from his knee injury. He started the season as the Bulls starting point guard, and while it started with a bang (a huge game to upset the Miami Heat), Dosunmu’s struggles led to the Bulls signing Patrick Beverley in the buyout market and moving Dosunmu back to the bench down the stretch, where he played better. It was obvious it was too much to throw onto Dosunmu’s plate to be the starting PG.

Dosunmu was a restricted free agent in the offseason, and after a while, he and the Bulls agreed to a 3 year, $21 million deal. But he started the season as the last guy in Billy Donovan’s 10 man rotation, barely getting 14-16 minutes a game. He played well in the little minutes he got, so fans implored for him to play more.

The Bulls limped to a 5-14 start, with most expecting the team to blow it up. But an OT win over the Bucks at home spurred the Bulls to a resurgence, and they climbed all the way back to be in he middle of the play-in, with a chance at the playoffs. And Ayo Dosunmu has been a huge part of that.

In the first part of the season, during the 5-14 start, Ayo played 16 minutes per game and averaged 5.5 PPG, 1.5 RPG, and 1.4 APG, on an efficient 62 TS%.

Since December started, Dosunmu has averaged 12.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 3.1 APG, playing over 30 MPG. He’s had to adjust to a number of roles; sometimes starting, sometimes coming off the bench, sometimes playing in place of Alex Caruso, sometimes in place of Zach LaVine, and he continues to run point guard off the bench and guard the opposing team’s best or second best player. His versatility has been so big for the Bulls.

Dosunmu’s shooting has improved vastly as well; he’s shooting 50%/41%/78% overall. That includes a 50/40/90 month of January.

He’s had a lot more big games now; 21 points at New Orleans last week, 24 points at Miami in December, and 29 points while holding Trae Young to 3/14 shooting in Atlanta. With Ayo it was all about being consistent, and he’s finally found that consistency as a combo guard off the bench. He looks like a long-term piece for the Bulls for sure.

While this season hasn’t gone so well for the Bulls overall, the development of Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu provide hope, regardless of what happens with the Big 3 and with Patrick Williams, and regardless of if the Bulls make the playoffs or not. There exists something to build off of, because these two guards have made the Bulls a respectable team, with some semblance of a future. Coby White looks like a future all star, and Ayo Dosunmu looks like a future full-time starter.

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