Rookie Ayo Dosunmu’s ability to learn quickly keeps Bulls trending
Dosunmu continued to display an evolving offensive and defensive game in the Bulls’ victory Friday against the Wizards. But his flair for playing winning basketball is a carryover from the last few years.
Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu has proved to be a quick learner throughout his rookie season.
Maybe too quick, as far as Wizards guard Bradley Beal was concerned Friday.
After Dosunmu was called for two traveling violations during the Bulls’ victory against the Wizards, he said Beal offered him some on-the-court advice.
‘‘After the travel, the play before I scored, [Beal] was like: ‘Just go deliberately. Deliberately go one way and then just get into your shot. Don’t think about it. Just take it and drive and get to your spot,’ ’’ Dosunmu said. ‘‘The next play, I did it on him.’’
That’s why Dosunmu’s baseline jumper left Beal shaking his head.
‘‘[Beal] was like: ‘I didn’t say do it on me; I just said do it in the future,’ ’’ Dosunmu said.
‘‘He got called for two travels in the corner because he was very indecisive,’’ Beal told the Wizards’ reporters. ‘‘As a young player, you’ve got to kind of know what you’re about to do before you receive the ball.
‘‘I looked at [Bulls] coach [Billy] Donovan, and he was telling him to just catch and go. And it’s funny, I told him the same thing. I was like: ‘You just gotta catch and rip. Don’t shuffle your feet. You catch and shoot or you catch and go.’ ’’
Dosunmu definitely went. The basket was only two of the 18 points he scored.
It impressed Beal and left an impression on Dosunmu.
‘‘That probably was my first time [an opposing] vet has done that,’’ Dosunmu said. ‘‘But it just shows what kind of player and person he is. He saw something that could have been corrected, he saw something in me that he could help me correct and he gave me advice.
‘‘I think that’s just cool of him, and I appreciate that because — him being one of the best scorers in this league — getting advice from him, that’s how the trend continues.’’
That’s not the only trend Dosunmu has been riding. In his last three seasons — two at Illinois and this one with the Bulls — he has played on winning teams.
The Illini went 21-10 two seasons ago and 24-7 last season. Then Dosunmu was drafted by the Bulls in the second round, and all he has done is help them reach the top of the Eastern Conference at 26-10. That’s a 71-27 record (.724 winning percentage) in those three seasons.
That’s a far cry from the few Bulls players — specifically guards Zach LaVine and Coby White — who have been a part of the organization for a while and experienced losing far too often.
White is in his third season with the Bulls, who drafted him seventh overall in 2019. The team went 22-43 in his rookie season and 31-41 despite having playoff aspirations last season.
And while White said he expected these Bulls to be a playoff contender in training camp, he didn’t see a .722 winning percentage coming.
‘‘I ain’t gonna lie and sit here and [say I knew] at the beginning of the year we’d be No. 1 in the East,’’ White said. ‘‘I knew we’d be really good from training camp. We’ve got a team filled with winning players and hungry players that want to win.
‘‘My first two years were different from this. It’s been fun to win again. Like I always say, we’re just a bunch of guys who love to hoop and love each other on and off the court. So we get it done.’’