Ayo Dosunmu is one of a handful of second-year players who appear set to build on a strong rookie season heading into a big second year.
Last year’s NBA Rookie class was a revelation, with a three-way race for Rookie of the Year that went right down the wire and a deep crop of successful contributors who are just scratching the surface. In that group, perhaps no one was a bigger surprise than Ayo Dosunmu of the Chicago Bulls.
Taken with the number 38 pick, Dosunmu played the sixth most minutes of any rookie and recorded as many assists as Scotty Barnes, more points than Josh Giddy, more steals than Davian Mitchell and more arcs than Bones Hyland. Shot better than. , Corey Kispert or Chris Duarte.
In Bleacher Report, Jonathan Wasserman detailed some of the concerns about Dosunmu and what parts of his NCAA success may or may not translate to the NBA, and why he fell in the second round.
“How well will he be able to separate? The lack of explosiveness in Dosunmu would have made it difficult for him to blow up and eliminate. His touch on floaters was off, with his 23.8 percentage points on runners (42 attempts) ranking one of the worst in draft prospects.
He attempted only 3.3 three-pointers per 40 minutes, though he knocked them down at a 39.0 percent clip. Between the lack of volume, inconsistent fluidity and weak height on his shot, his shooting is still a question mark.
Illinois gave Dosunmu the freedom to dominate the ball. But off the ball, where he would spend more time in the NBA, he graded in the 33rd percentile as a spot-up player and in the 20th percentile as a cutter.
I call this not to pick Wasserman—it was mostly a pre-draft consensus—but to highlight how amazing Dosumu’s efficiency was. And he beat the expectations in almost every field.
Dosunmu shot 53.4 percent on drives, the best mark of any rookie with at least 300 drives last season. He also recorded an assist on 13.8 percent of his drives, second only to Davian Mitchell among rookies. He made 38.4 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3 and was the only rookie to post an effective field goal percentage of 50 or better on at least 100 pull-up attempts. Much of that was driven by a smooth pull-up mid-range jumper that allowed him to attack in closeouts and quick, side pick-and-roll once the ball was rolled.
He’s not yet the kind of player you’re supposed to throw the ball at and make against a set defense, but he’s already scoring skillfully on all three levels, and in many contexts, as a supplemental threat. Used to be.
Dosunmu will have no additional responsibility this year, with a healthy DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine remaining the primary producers. Lonzo Ball will return at some point and Goran brings in another capable ball-handler in addition to Dragic. But Dosunmu has already shown that he can succeed in the role and that he is as important as any part of the Bulls supporting cast this season.
Jalen Suggs is ready to step on the offense. 5 pick in last year’s draft was battling injuries and was an absolute disaster as a shooter. He averaged 11.8 points per game but shot just 36.1 percent off the field and 21.4 percent from beyond the arc. However, it was almost all about his jumper—he made 61.1 percent of his shots on the rim, but only 25.2 percent beyond 10 feet. He struggled with both pull-up and catch-and-shoot attempts, but he didn’t do himself any favors with balance, about 1.5 pull-up jumps for every catch-and-shoot.
With a healthy Markel Fultz and Paolo Banchero, there should be little pressure on Suggs to create offense for himself and others with a dribble. Sharing the initiation load with Banchero, Fultz, Cole Anthony and Franz Wagner should give Suggs more opportunities to work with the ball. His numbers last year were so dire it’s hard to find a lot of statistical reasons for optimism, but Suggs is actually a smart cutter and his finishing should give him something to rely on as he lays the groundwork for offensive success.
Suggs was already a pretty strong defender for a rookie and his departure was an asset, even as he struggled with turnover as a primary producer. His shooting last season was so bad that expectations were dramatically depressed, but if he can bounce back to become a passive spot-up threat this season, he’s Magic as a connective piece on both ends. can be extremely important.
Moses is ready to step out of the shadow of moody Jonathan Kuminga. Cuminga garnered the most attention last season, making 12 starts and playing nearly twice as many minutes as Moody. But much of that was due to crowded wing rotation, where Kuminga’s ability to play defensively on the frontcourt was more important than Moody’s polish, build, and shooting touch.
With the change in the Warriors rotation we can see a lot more of Moody this season and he looks more than ready to make the move. He made 36.l5 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3 last season, but there is every reason to think that number will rise and he was dynamic as a self-builder in limited opportunities.
Moody shot 58.1 percent on drives and posted an effective field goal percentage of 50.0 on pull-up jumps. His size and strength made him useful as an offensive rebounder on the wing and he also possesses considerable defensive capability. Moody played mainly as 2 or 3 last year, but with Otto Porter Jr and Nemanja Bejelica gone, there could also be a chance for him to take a few minutes as a short ball 4 against some teams.
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