With the first round of the NBA Playoffs just a few days away, Chicago Bulls rookie Ayo Dosunmu is someone that can benefit from getting playoff experience.
The Chicago native has been a bright spot for most of the season but has slumped at times as well, which is to be expected for most first-year players. Especially a second-round pick. But Dosunmu has earned a big chance with Lonzo Ball being hurt since January and missing the rest of the year.
Dosunmu started 40 games for the Bulls this season, averaging 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists as the team’s point guard. With Ball’s absence as well as Alex Caruso missing time, Dosunmu stepped up as the starter and played well alongside Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. While Caruso was out, he saw the potential that Dosunmu provided:
“You lose Zo, you lose me, two guys that you think are going to be the main point guards, ball handers on the team,” Caruso said via ESPN. “And you throw him in, playing that position is probably the hardest position in the league to play. It’s just really impressive.”
LaVine and DeRozan will be garnering most of the attention against the Milwaukee Bucks, leaving Dosunmu multiple opportunities to contribute on both sides of the floor. Looking back at previous games against the Bucks, Dosunmu found himself being matched up against Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton on numerous occasions. Those are tough matchups both offensively and defensively but a good test for the young rookie.
We should fully expect Holiday to be the primary guy guarding Dosunmu and if the rookie can take advantage of it, that might mean success for Chicago. Ayo has been tasked with guarding the league’s best ballhandlers throughout the season, primarily matching up against Holiday will be no different. Holiday is known for his defense, so Dosunmu simply taking care of the ball will limit the damage caused by the Bucks’ stacked offense. He is not necessarily known to be a turnover machine, averaging 1.4 turnovers per game. In his four games against Milwaukee this season, Dosunmu averaged only 7 points, 3.8 assists, and 4 rebounds in 31.5 minutes of playing time each game.
With 77 regular-season games under his belt, Dosmnu has well proven to Chicago that he has the speed and explosiveness to make his mark in this tough series. He will learn quickly on Sunday afternoon how different the intensity turns up during a best-of-seven against the reigning NBA champions.
There have been many analysts writing off the Bulls in this series, it is obvious Dosunmu will be facing the toughest challenge of his career thus far. Milwaukee is a battle-ready team that is licking its chops to sweep Chicago. Minus DeRozan and LaVine, the Bulls’ backcourt is coming into the playoffs with inconsistent shooting from Coby White and Caruso playing through injury. We can expect Dosunmu to continue getting his chances to shake up the series as a true x-factor the Bulls will need.
Looking at his last 10 games for Chicago, his averages went up a slight bump: 10.6 points, 3.8 assists, and 2.8 rebounds. Dosunmu has had multiple games with over six assists. He has shown signs he can also be a leader that helps bring the group together during the course of a game. Win or loss, each of the playoff games will be a true learning experience for Dosunmu to carry with him for years to come in Chicago.
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