Chicago’s own Ayo Dosunmu is one of the young guys who is fighting for the starting point guard position, entering year 3 of his career on a new 3-year, $21 million deal to continue representing his hometown team.
The Bulls start the 2023-24 season with a clean slate as the team prepares for training camp this week. Although there are more questions than answers, the front office publicized that a point guard competition will be taking place in training camp, along with their expectations of development from the young guys.
“Right after the season finished, a lot of our young guys felt that they needed to go back to the gym and get better,” Bulls president Arturas Karnisovas told The Bigs Media on Media Day. “I think the complacency set in after the previous season when he had a little bit of success, but their approach was unbelievable this summer. I saw them all the time in the gym so I’d like to see them in training camp.”
Chicago’s own Ayo Dosunmu is one of the young guys who is fighting for the starting point guard position, entering year 3 of his career on a new 3-year, $21 million deal to continue representing his hometown team. After playing in 80 games (starting 51 games) last year averaging 8 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds on 49 percent from the field and 31 percent from the 3-point line, Dosunmu has exceeded expectations from coming into the league as a second-round pick to becoming a starting point guard option over the past couple seasons. However, those expectations increase with the more opportunities given to him.
“When Lonzo [Ball] went down, he really stepped in and played incredible basketball the second half of his rookie year with the opportunity he was given,” Head coach Billy Donovan said. “But with the opportunity comes more film, more preparation against opposing teams and there were things for him he probably wasn’t ready to see.”
Knowing that, Donovan highlighted some of the biggest improvements that the franchise is looking for Dosunmu to make, including his jump shot, decision making, finishing around the rim and efficiency. Combining that with his confidence and being ready/available for the right opportunities, he will be positioning himself to take that next jump the team is expecting.
“Even though it was challenging at times for [Ayo] last year, it may end up the best thing for his growth to actually have to go through some adversities and challenges the way he did because he handled it great not only in-season but off-season,” Donovan said.
The Bulls brought in former Bucks and Proviso East guard Jevon Carter to aid that process. After coming off a 42 percent 3-point shooting season, he believes it's going to be exciting to compete against another hometown teammate in Dosunmu (Morgan Park), knowing they both have chips on their shoulders and competitive edge. But he is more importantly looking forward to mentoring him.
“I’ve been in this league for a few years with a few different teams and played with a bunch of stars,” Carter said. “[I’m going to] give him the day to day habits and what it takes to be great,
stay in this league and be consistent. Waking up every day and working like yesterday never happened. Every day is a new day.”
The fight for the point guard position will be competitive, but Dosunmu’s teammates aren’t concerned when it comes to his work ethic. Guard Zach LaVine worked out with him throughout the offseason in California and he believes his improvement only gets better from here.
“Ayo is one of the hardest workers.” LaVine said. “He came out to California to say what’s up to me for a couple days and went through some workouts so to see his improvement is great. Obviously to have him back to Chicago is lovely and I think he is going to continue getting better and better.”
For guard DeMar DeRozan, he knows the skillset is there and challenges Dosunmu to put it all together.
“In your rookie year, you're oblivious to so much because everything is new,” DeRozan said. “In your second year, you think you got it figured out but you realize you don’t and they got you figured out more than anything. This time around, put it all together and understand what it takes to be a complete pro in this league and be consistent every single night. My challenge to him is to be able to bring it every single day in practice, film, game and shootaround. He’s definitely aware of that.”