The NBA Rookie of the Year derby is a two-horse race: Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors. Everyone else after that, including Ayo Dosunmu of the Chicago Bulls, is fighting for All-Rookie first team. Or maybe All-Rookie second team.
After Mobley and Barnes, the three next best NBA freshmen are Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets, Franz Wagner of the Orlando Magic and Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons.
Over at Betway, you can see their latest update on the NBA ROY odds. While some believe that Dosunmu may have hit the proverbial “rookie wall,” potentially, in the past couple of weeks, his stats are still very impressive. Playing for his hometown ballclub, after starring for his home state’s flagship university (Illinois Fighting Illini), the Chicagoan has really exceeded expectations in his first professional campaign.
While the Bulls have fading fast down the stretch of the season here, one of the many bright spots, overall this season, has been the development of Ayo Dosunmu, who has carved out a niche for himself.
“He may be able to squeeze in first team all rookie,” said NBC Sports Chicago Bulls Analyst Kendall Gill, when we asked him about postseason award prospects for Dosunmu, during our exclusive conversation two weeks ago.
“You got a few guys ahead of him that have play a lot more starter minutes and have higher scoring averages. And also it depends on where the Bulls finish is.
The 53-year-old former NBA star went to Illinois and played for the Bulls, just like Dosunmu. He added:
“If the Bulls finish like, fourth, fifth, sixth and avoid the play-in, then he could possibly get first team right now.”
The Bulls are now locked into the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, having gone just 7-15 since the All-Star Break, a point in the season in which they sat tied for first in the East. Still this will be their first playoff appearance since 2017, which is definitely something.
Ayo Dosunmu, who was drafted in the middle of the second round, was not expected to get starters minutes on this Bulls team. However, no one thought Lonzo Ball would miss so much of the season due to injury either.
The last time the Bulls actually did anything of note was way back in 2011, when they reached the Eastern Conference Finals. The starting power forward on that team was Carlos Boozer, who we also just had an exclusive with.
“A man with a bright future, he plays hard,” Boozer responded when we asked him about Dosunmu. He has a more bullish outlook on Dosunmu’s postseason award prospects.
“He definitely should be first team all-rookie,” Booze continued.
“And like one of those guys that the league has taken notice, and he’s important for this team to go. All these guys that have continued to grow together, suddenly it becomes really important for some of these young guys.
“It’ll be important for him. He can defend and he can score. He’s unselfish. Great pickup.”
Unfortunately, the Bulls as a whole haven’t really done much defending at all. They have lost their last four games, all at home and by well more than double digits.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”