Bulls' Dosunmu gets invite to All-Star Weekend

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu, seen here driving against the Milwuakee Bucks on Jan. 21, was one of 12 rookies chosen Tuesday to participate in the Rising Stars challenge during All-Star Weekend in Cleveland. This year's event will feature four teams of seven players.

    Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu, seen here driving against the Milwuakee Bucks on Jan. 21, was one of 12 rookies chosen Tuesday to participate in the Rising Stars challenge during All-Star Weekend in Cleveland. This year's event will feature four teams of seven players. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/1/2022 7:22 PM

Maybe the NBA's Rising Stars challenge hasn't been the most competitive of events during All-Star Weekend.

But Bulls rookie Ayo Dosunmu will get a chance to add it to his list of experiences. He was chosen as one of the 12 rookies to participate in the event.

 

"Knowing him, he'd probably try to take something from it and try to learn something from it," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Tuesday, shortly before the team was announced. "That's just kind of who he is as a person."

Dosunmu was asked about being chosen for the game when he spoke to reporters at the Advocate Center on Monday. If nothing else, it will give Dosunmu a chance to be around some of the league's best players, including teammates DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. DeRozan is an all-star starter and LaVine is a virtual lock to be chosen as a reserve Thursday.

"Of course, that's just something as a competitor, you always want to try to put yourself in a position to be in those type of games," Dosunmu said. "As a competitor, I'd be lying to you if I told you I didn't want to have my name in that conversation."

There is a new format this year, replacing the no-defense dunk-fests of the past. Four teams of seven players will play semifinals and a championship game, all with a target score. That type of ending led to a more competitive All-Star Game in Chicago in 2020, so maybe it will do the same for the Rising Stars.

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Dosunmu is the lowest pick to be chosen among the rookies, at No. 38 overall. There is one other second-rounder, New Orleans forward Herbert Jones, who went No. 35.

The rest of the rookies included each of the top six picks -- Detroit's Cade Cunningham, Houston's Jalen Green, Cleveland's Evan Mobley, Toronto's Scottie Barnes, Orlando's Jalen Suggs and Oklahoma City's Josh Giddey. Also chosen were Orlando's Franz Wagner, Sacramento's Davion Mitchell, Indiana's Chris Duarte and Houston center Alperen Sengun.

The sophomore list featured Minnesota's Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, Charlotte's LaMelo Ball, Cleveland's Isaac Okoro, Sacramento's Tyrese Haliburton, Orlando's Cole Anthony, Detroit's Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart, Toronto's Precious Achiuwa, Philadelphia's Tyrese Maxey, Memphis' Desmond Bane and Houston's Jae'Sean Tate.

Only three of the top 11 picks from the 2020 draft were invited. Obviously, that includes injured Bulls forward Patrick Williams. Four players from the G-League Ignite team are also part of the Rising Stars roster.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The games will be played Friday, Feb. 18 in Cleveland.

Donovan in contention:

The Bulls began Tuesday's action with a half-game lead over Miami for first place in the East. If they're still in first by the end of Sunday, Billy Donovan will coach Team Durant in the Feb. 20 All-Star Game.

"Obviously it would be a great honor to be able to do something like that," Donovan said. "I think it speaks to the players and the team, probably be something we'd all share in, because you've got to finish in first place in the East. So it would be a great honor.

"But I think a lot of the credit when something like that happens probably needs to go to the players, because they're the ones that are out there performing and playing. But I wouldn't want to at all understate what a great honor something like that would be."

Bulls notes:

Javonte Green was in the starting lineup Tuesday after sitting out practice the previous day with a sprained ankle. ... With their 31st win on Sunday, the Bulls matched last season's win total.

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