Lucky for the Bulls, Ayo Dosunmu Stayed Ready

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Lucky for the Bulls, Ayo Dosunmu Stayed Ready

Chicago Bulls

“No, I don’t think it’s crazy, I think we’re due for one,” Ayo Dosunmu told reporters after knocking down his first career buzzer beater.

On one hand, he has a point. As poorly as this Bulls team has played so far this season, their league-worst 3-11 record in clutch games heading into Wednesday night felt stupefying. After all, they were the NBA’s fourth-best team in clutch situations one season ago. It’s hard not to think at least one or two more balls would have bounced in their favor over their first 30 games. I mean, seriously, luck had to eventually fall on their side, right?

On the other hand, I think Dosunmu created that luck Wednesday night. The Bulls aren’t in a position to win that game if he doesn’t put himself in a position to snag that offensive rebound. And, sure, while the basketball gods may have been at work when John Collins let the rock slide through his hands, it was still Dosunmu that had to execute.

The second-year guard deserves immense praise for the extra effort he displayed in that final play. Set as the inbounder, the last place he should have been was underneath the basket when DeMar DeRozan missed that shot. But there he was, and even his teammates couldn’t believe it.

“I always say, I don’t know how Ayo gets so many offensive rebounds,” LaVine said after the win. “Every game, you watch him, he gets offensive rebounds, a layup, or a kickout. So for him to inbound the ball and get down to the dunker spot, I don’t know how he did it. Right play, right time. He’s a winning player, and I’m happy for him.”

What made the moment all the more impressive was the fact that Dosunmu was coming off his fewest minutes played since the second game of his NBA career. Head coach Billy Donovan only had him on the court for roughly 5 minutes of action during the team’s victory over Miami one night before. And, to be clear, Donovan was justified in that choice.

Over the previous eight games, Dosunmu couldn’t muster more than 6.6 points and 2.3 assists a night. He also failed to score more than 5 points in each of the previous four contests. The 22-year-old had been slumping in a big way, and the only reason he found himself on the floor for 30+ minutes Wednesday night was due to injuries to both Alex Caruso and Goran Dragic.

“It’s all about your approach, the mental approach,” Dosunmu told The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry. “You have to be mentally strong in this league definitely. I pride myself on being a great teammate, being there for my teammates. Last night [against Miami], I didn’t play the minutes ideally that I want to play as me being a competitor. I can’t take that out on my teammate. I continue to cheer for the team, continue to tell them what I saw, and I knew whenever my time did come, I’d be ready for it.”

Everything about Wednesday night’s game is what makes Dosunmu such a special player. From the hustle to the shotmaking to the mentality, he represents the kind of winning talent that this organization is trying to develop within its revamped ecosystem.

Now, will that one shot earn him back the bigger role he once played? We’ll see. But I think regardless of what the outcome is, we can trust that Dosunmu will work to make the most of the opportunity he’s given.



Author: Elias Schuster

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