Bulls rookie Dosunmu gets plug as a plus defender

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Toronto Raptors' Gary Trent Jr. (33) shoots over Chicago Bulls' Ayo Dosunmu during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, in Chicago. The Bulls won 111-105.

    Toronto Raptors' Gary Trent Jr. (33) shoots over Chicago Bulls' Ayo Dosunmu during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, in Chicago. The Bulls won 111-105. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 1/27/2022 8:18 PM

An interesting list appeared on Twitter Thursday.

The website bball-index.com ranked Bulls rookie Ayo Dosunmu as the top player is its on-ball defense metric, among players in the top 10% of matchup difficulty.

 

Philadelphia's Matisse Thybulle was second and Cleveland's Isaac Okoro third. Former Bulls guard Garrett Temple was seventh and current Bulls guard Lonzo Ball eighth.

Dosunmu's defensive ability has earned him more playing time, along with a large number of injuries among the Bulls. He appears to be the team's best option against the smaller, quicker guards.

It's always tough to measure defense. When it comes to individual defensive rating, Alex Caruso leads the Bulls, according to nba.com stats. Javonte Green is second, DeMar DeRozan third, Ball fourth and Dosunmu fifth.

Defensive rating is simply the number of points allowed per 100 possessions while that player is on the court.

After Wednesday's win over Toronto, Bulls coach Billy Donovan talked about how Dosunmu and Coby White can get better by dealing with difficult situations. Toronto and Oklahoma City tried to take advantage of the young ballhandlers by pressing in the backcourt and trapping frequently.

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In those two games, Dosunmu finished with an impressive 12 assists and 3 turnovers. White had 8 and 4. Dosunmu has started seven straight games and figures to stay in the role until Ball returns from a knee injury.

"This is the opportunity for our team to really grow," Donovan said. "If Ayo can get in these situations and really get better from them and even Coby, when we do get a little bit more whole, I think it allows them to play in a way where they've seen some of this stuff before.

"I think we need to be better spacing-wise. I think there's a lot of things we can learn from this and get better."

Sharing is caring:

Another interesting part of Wednesday's box score was the assist column. Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic dished out 8 assists and DeMar DeRozan had 7.

The Bulls moved the ball really well in the first half when they piled up 22 assists. They finished with 32, well short of their season-high of 38.

"This is the first time we've played together in a while, just trying to get the rhythm back," DeRozan said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That is true, the three all-stars hadn't been on the floor together since the first quarter against Golden State on Jan. 14.

"I think it just shows how unselfish we are," Vucevic said. "The way Toronto plays, they're very aggressive on the ball, they're very aggressive in helping. We talked about that before the game and knew we would have to share the ball and find the next guy to have a chance to beat them."

Empty seats on bench:

After Wednesday's game, coach Billy Donovan said assistants Maurice Cheeks and John Bryant were both in health and safety protocols and were not on the bench.

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