Ask Sam: Draft Night, Ayo Dosunmu, Patrick Williams and more

Sam Smith answers your questions about the Draft, the Lakers and Ayo Dosunmu
by Sam Smith
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Brian Tucker:

I don't think that the draft could have gone any better for us. We stayed put as to not give up any other resources, and I cannot believe Ayo fell to us. Got 1st round talent at a position of need. Ayo. Assuming we get a lead point guard via trade or free agency, can Ayo slot in as our #4 guard as a rookie? If so, trading Sato (or cutting him) seems like a formality now.

Sam Smith:

Don't get Sato mad before he has to play Zach and USA Basketball Saturday morning. These next few days will tell a lot about the 21-22 Bulls. The Bulls, I believe, this weekend have to make decisions on the qualifying offer on Lauri Markkanen, the Arcidiacono option and the full season guarantees on Satoransky and Thad Young. Though free agency officially begins Monday, you know teams have been contacting agents and players and at least have a sense what they can—or want to—do. The Bulls priority long has seemed to be the addition of a starting point guard, and as excited as the fans generally are about Ayo, I doubt the team sees him as their lead guard. And Coby White likely will be out from surgery into the season. So it's not a given yet how much guard depth there is with Garrett Temple and Denzel Valentine unrestricted free agents. I can see that Ayo was too good to pass up dropping to 38. I thought the Bulls would pick someone to basically train in Europe if also to have more salary cap room. Perhaps this means the Bulls will not try to unload their depth and use the salary cap exception and guarantee Satoransky and Young. The big news comes in the next week.


Arturas Karnisovas and Ayo Dosunmu

John Petersen:

I'm a very old U of I grad that followed the team this past season. The only player I did not want the Bulls to draft was Ayo. Nice local kid with great Illini following (perhaps an attendance hype) but selected about where he belonged at 38, so don't expect much. He was not even the best point guard at Illinois this year and is yet another "tweener" that is decent but does not really excel/dominate at anything. Apparently all the AK sleepers were gone and AK did a why not move with an obvious lack of enthusiasm. The "we really liked his interview" comment is telling.

Sam Smith:

I will say it seems difficult to read much into Arturas' monotone media sessions given friends say he loans his personality out before he speaks publicly. Some of my friends from Illinois believe the Bulls got a steal, so perhaps I can introduce you to them. Remember, Arturas is the dean of the second round. Could this be his best ever second round pick? OK, after Nikola Jokic. There generally is a reason a player falls that far, but we see many players who do and, ooops, got that wrong, like recently guards Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, players who stayed in college longer and weren't high fliers, but who just made plays. The pros don't always get that. They often figure you can find plenty of those guys. But there does seem to be something unmeasurable about Dosunmu. There doesn't seem anything he does that makes you look again, but his teams always seem to be better than expected and he's in the middle of it. The loss to Loyola, some might suggest, was a blueprint for how to take him out of a game with pressure into his dribble. But he's also made too many big plays at too many times for that to seem just an aberration. I didn't watch the U. of Illinois much, so you alumni can debate it for now.


Markkanen handles the ball

Wayne Warner:

Bulls get Dosunmu at #38 who you had projected in first round to Nuggets so this is really good. Look forward to Bulls decisions / actions on:

  1. Markannen - sign and trade...or he signs qualifying offer to play out his last year and be a free agent
  2. trade of Sato but hoping Bulls retain Young for veteran depth in front court as he can play the half court playmaking 2nd team 5 spot.
  3. re-sign Temple for veteran depth at the wing behind Troy Brown Jr.
  4. veteran point guard (or point forward) acquisition...and decision on Ryan A vs Dotson for 3rd PG depth
  5. backup center at a minimum salary
  6. signing Dosunmu and Simonovic to LT contracts

Sam Smith:

Well, there goes my Rubio/Rose backcourt. Ball/Dosunmu? Dosunmu/White? Seems like Rubio has gone to the Cavs. Sexton/White/Dosunmu? It's getting difficult to find that Markkanen sign and trade. Maybe he signs the qualifying offer and decides to play it out to unrestricted free agency and, who knows, maybe we see Markkanen of two years ago when he was dominating Porzingis. It seems like Simonovic is on the way, though the Bulls haven't announced anything yet. We should know soon once the Summer League roster is set. But let me say with Patrick Williams and Dosunmu, the Bulls should be Summer League title favorites for the first time since 2016 when Denzel Valentine was the hero of July.


Kemba Walker shoots the ball against James Harden

Serafin Sanchez:

According to ESPN, the first 5 picks in last night's draft include Doncic, Jokic, Mitchell, Lavine, Beal and Jalen Brown. Wow! Usually the comps are pretty out there but this year they were absurd. Which is why the Bulls trade of Vuc last year was a great one. So far we lost on Wagner... for a bona-fide star big man. If the bulls strike out on Ball, what do you think of them trading for Kemba? Who would have to go to match salaries?

Sam Smith:

It's always laughable to listen to the analysts on draft night. No one ever seems to get compared to Tony Snell. We've seen enough of that five to 10 draft range, and most of those guys are in Orlando now, I think. So, agree, it's good to see some real NBA players. Even though it didn't look so great last season with missing the play-in, it was the right move. I know fans love the draft. More so in the summer. Things have quieted on Kemba around the league, which worries you about health and his knee. Maybe it's too quiet, which always means to us Karnisovas is involved. Though I don't see Kemba for the Bulls with his scoring dominant game.


Patrick Williams drives

Don Figgers:

Please stop. I understand how you see the four position being more Kevin Durant, Jason Tatum style position in the near future. Which I somewhat agree with you. But Patrick Williams is not 4. He is a wing as the youngster say. A small forward who can guard up or down the lineup. We shouldn't play him full time at power forward because for every KD and JT there always will be a Zion or Giannis who outweighs and/or are inches taller. Why force him to play against players who's only out there to be bruisers? You said it's his lateral movement tell you he's a 4 (which seems nitpicky at best). But I don't believe that at all. The only thing affected his lateral movement was being a 19 year old rookie who was guarding the best player on the team if not the world. Could you explain what you see fully or respectfully "stop it". Because I see Kawhi or Kobe when watch him.

Sam Smith:

Fortunately for you I am not making the decisions. For me, too, but that's another debate. I think he can dominate moreso at the four position (however much that matters in the NBA anymore with all the switching on defense) because of his physicality. And his age, which I think means he'll get bigger. Yes, he defended a lot of the great wing players. I thought most of them beat him off the dribble. What was his highlight? Probably blocking an Ayton dunk try. I'm with you and believe he will be really good and think he can be something of a point four. But with a body that I believe will fill out, I see him being more dominant with the interior players who are not going to push him around. Again because he's young he could become a more responsive scorer/shooter. But he's still hesitant and deferential on offense. That may be who he is. The Bulls station him in the corners more now, which suggests less of a perimeter type game. Given he's still just 20, there's plenty of change to come. And even though he's "only" about 6-8, after all Zion is shorter. I see more of a need for that 3-D catch and shoot quicker wing. Williams can bruise guys. Better with targets not moving so quickly.


Nikola Vucevic

Brett Walker:

Who isn't getting talked about as a possible free agent target for the Bulls that you think should be? For example, I see a lot of talk saying that we need another ball-handler, someone at point guard that can be more of a facilitator for LaVine and Vucevic, and I tend to agree with that assessment. While he might not be a big 'glamour' name, I don't know why we wouldn't make an offer for someone like T.J. McConnell then - his assist numbers are good as are his defensive numbers, so he would help us on both ends of the floor without us breaking the bank. This will probably get me laughed at, but I think Kelly Olynyk is someone that hasn't been mentioned that would fit in well at the Bulls and would help to give us some extra depth and quality off the bench, again without breaking the bank.

Sam Smith:

I've gotten some mentions for McConnell, whom the Bulls thought they had with Arcidiacono. It would sort of be a disappointment to the fan base with all the talk of big money free agents like Ball, but McConnell always has been one of those guys you hate to see come in for the other team. He's all over the place and makes plays. Perhaps that's an element with Dosunmu the pros miss. After all, McConnell was undrafted. Another of those guys who doesn't do anything special, but you sure like to have him on your team. I'm not laughing, either, about Olynyk since I do think Miami missed him these playoffs. Maybe for the Bulls it comes to filling around the edges instead of winning the ESPN headline battle for a day.


Marvin Bagley attempts a layup

Jeffrey Pierce:

Here's what I would do: Sign and trade Markkenan and include Thaddeus young to the kings for Marvin Bagely. Maybe add a pick.

Sign Lonzo ball and Derrick rose.

Keep Colby white and Patrick Williams. Then you are set for now and the future. Does this sound legit?

Sam Smith:

I am intrigued by Bagley, though I just gave Williams his position. With Bagley on a rookie contract you can't do all that, but I do think there's some there there. The Kings are someone to watch now having drafted Davion Mitchell after Haliburton. Both are ready to play types who are tough and look like a backcourt. De'Aaron Fox seemed untouchable, and perhaps now not so much. If he comes on the market there could be a lot of interest. I'd go back to the 76ers now on Ben Simmons, who really is a small forward. Maybe that's where the sign and trade comes in with the Bulls?


Russell Westbrook drives against the 76ers

Mike Sutera:

Some observations from the draft night: Wonder what the Cavs do with Jarrett Allen now. Do you pay a guy 100 plus million now that you have Mobley? not to mention you still owe big money to Love and Nance.
Surprised Warriors ended up keeping those two picks. Team wants to compete for another title and I dont see Kuminga and Moody contributing much at 18 and 19 years old.
Not a fan of what the Magic did with our pick. Not really a good shooter for a supposed shooter.
Hawks took another SF. How many does that make on the hawks roster now
Wonder where Russ gets dealt 2 next offseason lol
Cant see LBJ liking his style. Sure he wanted him now but just wait. KD and Harden must be laughing.
Biggest losers Bradley Beal and the Sixers.
Gafford will be hurt the most by the Russ trade

Sam Smith:

Though you know the Lakers become the story again. Fourth team in four seasons for Russ. That usually is a sign, though the Lakers are becoming more fragile, so it was worth a shot. What they probably will do is cut LeBron's playing time (and number of games) and let Davis yell at Russ for the ball. The 76ers will do something, but despite this suggestion that Beal is OK with things I don't see it. Does he see himself as Giannis as the new model for success? Kuzma, Harrell, Caldwell-Pope? I think they also got a Holiday, though not the good one. Hachimura, Avdija, Bertans? There's a lot to wade through there. They did get rid of John Wall, so they have an idea what they are doing. Welcome, Wes Jr, you figure it out. As for the Cavs, take the best guy and then worry about it. And with the Warriors, again, we assume they are plotting. Next week should be something.

Got a question for Sam?

Submit your question to Sam at asksam@bulls.com

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

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