Arturas Karnisovas Shares His Thoughts on Ayo Dosunmu and What Comes Next

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Arturas Karnisovas Shares His Thoughts on Ayo Dosunmu and What Comes Next

Chicago Bulls

When the live stream started Thursday night, Arturas Karnisovas looked nothing short of satisfied. The Chicago Bulls’ front office leader said he and general manager Marc Eversley did not expect to see Ayo Dosunmu on the board when their No. 38 pick came around. Sure, that might sound like typical executive-speak, but those two were not the only ones caught off guard.

Dosunmu may not have been the highest-upside prospect, but he was viewed by many as a late first-round talent. The No. 25-30 range felt prime for an experienced college guard who was right in the thick of the National Player of the Year conversation last season. Instead, contending teams like the Nuggets, Nets, Clippers, Suns, and 76ers either traded their pick or selected a prospect who faced a similar tumble down the draft board. By the time Dosunmu got selected at No. 38, he too was surprised his phone had not yet buzzed: “I definitely have a chip on my shoulder. I’m definitely going to go out there and prove that a lot of teams made a mistake. But Chicago, my home city, didn’t,” Dosunmu said to close out his post-draft interview

While Dosunmu might be eager to prove his doubters wrong, Karnisovas just wants to get the 21-year-old acclimated. When asked by reporters on Thursday night about Dosunmu’s future role and his ability to potentially help fill the team’s playmaking hole, Karnisovas reversed course.

“We don’t have any expectations right now,” Karnisovas said. “We’re not going to put those expectations on him. We’re going to take it one thing at a time, which starts with the Summer League. Then, training camp, and we’re going to start from that. I’m going to evaluate him starting at practice before summer league. He has a lot of work to do. I think he has high expectations of himself.”

A sobering response, but the right one. Let’s remember we’re talking about a second-rounder here. Yes, I agree Dosunmu could have gone higher, but we still must temper any expectations we have for his immediate impact. The guy is still a rookie, and finding the right role for him to play on this Chicago Bulls roster is going to take some time, especially when we remember a number of changes will continue to come over the next week with the start of free agency.

Experience very well could help speed up the process, though. Dosunmu has played 90 college basketball games, starting every single one. His well-rounded and versatile skill set paired with his high basketball IQ has kept him on the court and turned him into the NCAA’s best point guard (literally … he was the Bob Cousy Award winner).

Karnisovas was asked about Dosunmu’s track record and whether or not the not-so raw nature of his game was part of the allure.

“For sure,” Karnisovas said. “He’s more seasoned. He had three seasons in college. But, again, he has played for USA teams. It’s not like he came from nowhere, and obviously he was the Bob Cousy Award for the best guard in the country, so huge numbers in terms of averages. He has done a lot during his career in college so now it is the next step.”

I would not put cracking the rotation early next season past Dosunmu. A notoriously hard worker who has found a way to impact winning at every stop of his basketball journey, he could quickly become a helpful addition to this team’s wing depth. And, while he may not have been a lottery pick, the team did demonstrate a clear willingness to throw their rookies into the fire with how they handled Patrick Williams last season.

Just like Karnisovas, all we can do now is wait to see how Dosunmu stacks up against his fellow competition next month. Summer League is set to start on August 8th and finish on August 17th. Dosunmu should see plenty of action alongside Patrick Williams, Devon Dotson, Simi Shittu, and maybe 2020 second-round Marko Simonovic. Until then!

Watch Karnisovas’ full interview below:


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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.