Bulls rookie guard Ayo Dosunmu trying to build résumé in Summer League
The shots haven’t been falling for the former Morgan Park High School standout through the first three games in Las Vegas, but his hope is that his energy on defense opens eyes and earns him minutes.
Ayo Dosunmu has seen a path.
Unfortunately for the former Morgan Park standout, it’s not a clear track by any means.
There’s high-flying All-Star Zach LaVine, who’s carrying a gold medal around his neck, 2017 No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball, who excels at tempo and defense, streaky scorer Coby White and 2020 NBA champion Alex Caruso, who officially signed his four-year free-agent deal this week.
They’re all blocking his way to NBA playing time.
“I saw the Bulls added a lot of guards,’’ the Illinois standout said from the Summer League in Las Vegas. “But I also did a lot of research. Coach Billy Donovan, he loves to play a lot of three-guard offenses.
‘‘I know if I just play hard, compete and bring a lot of energy, it will take care of itself.’’
Maybe it will.
After all, Donovan had no problem rolling out a lineup in which Garrett Temple, White and LaVine shared the floor at times last season.
They had different skill sets and the ability to play off each other.
Dosunmu, however, doesn’t come close to matching the skills of those players.
It’s only the Summer League, but through the first three games, including the Bulls’ ugly 78-59 loss Thursday to the Timberwolves, Dosunmu has shown signs with his defense and willingness to attack the rim, but he clearly has a lot of work to do on his shooting.
Dosunmu is 7-for-24 (29%) from the field, including a dismal 1-for-7 against the T-wolves.
He has been a solid rebounder, averaging five per game, and had four steals in the Bulls’ comeback victory Tuesday against the Spurs, but the offense needs a lot of work.
Dosunmu’s immediate goals are to play hard, work hard at practice and put in extra work on the court.
“The advice I got was go out there and play hard,’’ Dosunmu said. “Just try to learn something new each game. That’s the best way you’re going to get better.
‘‘That’s why you see some of the second-year guys performing so well. It’s because they have games under their belt and experience. That’s all it takes.
‘‘I’m just trying to stay encouraged and keep building brick by brick.’’
And hopefully move away from shooting bricks.
Dosunmu is 0-for-4 from three-point range but shot 39% from long range for the Illini during the 2020-21 season. So expect that to improve.
Besides, the 38th overall pick is not going to earn playing time because of his outside shooting.
“[Dosunmu is] super-versatile,’’ Bulls second-year forward Patrick Williams said. “He can really defend, as well. He’s been doing that pretty much all last week when we were at practice.
“But he just plays so hard. . . . He’s one of the more vocal players that we have on the team, even as a rookie. Just nothing but praise for him. He’s been really good for our team. Even when he’s not playing well at the time, he’s always vocal. He’s always on the bench, standing up, giving energy pretty much any way he can. He’s just a really good player.’’
On Thursday against Minnesota, the Bulls again were led by Williams, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
“I think in that first half, we were a little stagnant,’’ Williams said. “When the shots weren’t falling, we went away from the offense, kind of started going one-on-one, and that’s my fault.’’