Dosunmu not focused on Bulls' point guard competition
Ayo Dosunmu helped save the Bulls season as a rookie filling in for injured point guard Lonzo Ball.
When Dosunmu's playing time dropped in the playoffs, coach Billy Donovan was always complimentary and never very specific when asked to explain the change.
Ball will still be sidelined when the regular season begins and Donovan was a bit more descriptive Wednesday when talking about improvements Dosunmu can make.
"As a point guard, he's got to be able to balance the floor, he's got to get guys in the right spots," Donovan said. "I tried to help him as much as I could in terms of play-calling and helping us get into certain situations. I think that would be another step."
Technically, the starting point guard role is open, at least until Ball gets healthy. Dosunmu or Alex Caruso are the primary candidates to get the call, with veteran Goran Dragic likely in a bench role. Wednesday at the Advocate Center, Dosunmu said trying to win a starting job in training camp is not on his list of goals.
"I just want to win as many games as possible," he said. "I think when you win, everybody eats, everybody looks good and that's the best thing. That's what you do, you come out here to win. We have a great group of guys and great coaching staff, so I'm excited."
The rookie wall has become sort of a built-in excuse for players experiencing the grind for the first time. But Dosunmu admitted it was a real problem for him, adjusting to an 82-game schedule, along with far more travel than he experienced during three years at Illinois.
"I would say my legs got a little bit tired," he said. "That's why I put a lot of work into my body. I feel a lot stronger."
Dosunmu said he's slightly heavier heading into this season. During the summer, he focused on early-morning training sessions at the Advocate Center with assistant coaches Chris Fleming and Josh Longstaff.
The hope he is maybe Dosunmu can add some of Ball's best traits to his game. That would include pushing the tempo, creating havoc on the defensive end and improving his 3-point shot.
"I want to be able to go up and down four or five times without getting tired," Dosunmu said. "Today I think I did a good job with that. I was picking up full-court and I really didn't get tired.
"With us playing faster and getting out in transition and playing a more open, free game, I would say me not getting tired would be a huge plus for me and the team because I can use my speed, make plays, get downhill and do what I do."
The South Side native also added a tattoo to his left arm this summer in remembrance of an old friend.
"That's my cousin, his name's Darius (Brown)," Dosunmu said. "He died, he got shot about a decade ago. It's my motivation for everything I do, so I had to get a tattoo here for him. Every day I come out here and play, I do it for him. Going through that at a young age, that pushed me to get where I am today, so I had to get a tattoo for him."
Dosunmu also has an old friend in the locker room this year in former DePaul forward Javon Liberty-Freeman. The two were in high school at the same time, with Dosunmu at Morgan Park and Liberty-Freeman at Whitney Young.
Liberty-Freeman is the nephew of former Flying Illini forward Marcus Liberty, and is expected to play for the Windy City Bulls this season. For now, he's competing with the NBA Bulls in training camp.
"You know me, I'm always rooting for Chicago kids because I'm a Chicago kid myself," he said. "I like to be the one to always vouch and give my love and respect to anybody from Chicago trying to make it out, because I know how the city is. I try to give him as much knowledge as possible to be successful, because last season that's what the vets did to me."