Finding reliable contributors in the second round of the NBA Draft is a difficult task, but the reward is immense when teams hit on these picks. This has been the case for the Chicago Bulls with 2021 second-round selection Ayo Dosunmu as he ranked as the 25th most valuable contract in the league this season according to a study conducted by IllinoisBet.com.
For this study, IllinoisBet.com – your home for Illinois online sports betting coverage – used Basketball-Reference.com to find the cap hit and win shares of every NBA player during the 2022-23 regular season. We then calculated each player's salary per win share to determine which players produced the most relative to their cost this season. If a player suited up for multiple teams in 2022-23, their salary and win share data from all teams were included.
Most Underrated Player on 2022-23 Chicago Bulls
What Makes Dosunmu A Bargain
Selected 38th overall out of the University of Illinois in the 2021 NBA Draft, Ayo Dosunmu has quickly established himself as a mainstay in the Bulls rotation, logging more than 2,000 minutes played each season. He has played in 157 of a possible 164 games since joining the league, starting 40 games as a rookie in 2021-22 before making 51 starts this season, frequently helping the Bulls to reward their backers at Illinois sportsbook apps.
Primarily used as a connector, Dosunmu averaged just 8.6 points per game on a meager 14.9% usage rate in 2022-23, but made a positive impact with his finishing, passing and defense. He shot 67.9% at the rim, recorded a 2.08 assist/turnover ratio and effectively guarded multiple spots on the perimeter for the NBA’s fifth-most efficient defense, using his combination of length, active hands and quick feet.
However, his overall production remained largely unchanged from his Second Team All-Rookie campaign and even took a step back in some instances, leading to some concerns about his overall ceiling beyond his current role. His 3-point percentage fell from 37.6% as a rookie to 31.2% this season on almost identical volume, a key issue for a team looking for spacing to compliment DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine.
The Bulls went into the season with +4000 preseason NBA championship odds at BetMGM Sportsbook Illinois and never looked like a threat to cash.
Dosunmu’s playing time also lessened towards the end of the season as the Bulls reshuffled their lineup when Patrick Beverly arrived. Dosunmu started just two games after Beverly signed on Feb. 21 and his minutes per game average subsequently dropped from 28.4 to 20.8 for the remainder of the year.
Decision Looming on Dosunmu Contract
Now, the Bulls face a decision on whether to bring back Dosunmu, a Chicago native. His rookie contract only ran for two years and he will enter restricted free agency with a potential $5.2 million qualifying offer, more than triple his current salary.
Though it might seem like an easy call to re-sign him, the Bulls have several other key backcourt areas to address and that could complicate things for a team carrying +10000 odds to win the 2024 NBA title for those using the Caesars sportsbook promo code in Illinois.
Lonzo Ball continues to deal with potentially career ending knee issues, impacting the team’s long-term plan at point guard. Meanwhile, Beverly’s contract is expiring and Coby White is set to hit restricted free agency this summer, leaving the Bulls in an even further conundrum at the position.
Dosunmu spent about 25% of his rookie season at point guard, per Basketball-Reference’s position estimates, but that fell to just 2% this year as he played mostly off the ball. So his future with the team likely rests on how the Bulls decide to reconfigure their roster around their issues at the point.
Still, expect them to try to retain Dosunmu, if possible, largely because of his versatility. But if he hits the market, the 23-year-old should have several strong suitors after what he has shown though his first two professional seasons.
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