Bulls Notes: Dosunmu, Caruso, Terry, Phillips, DeRozan

After starting the season 5-14, the Bulls have been playing solid basketball over the past few months despite dealing with some major injuries. They’ve gone 22-16 over their past 38 games and currently hold a 27-30 record, good for the No. 9 seed in the East.

Coby White has — understandably — received plenty of recognition for helping the Bulls right the ship, but his backcourt mate Ayo Dosunmu has had an impressive season as well, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

As Johnson writes, Dosunmu has always been able to create an edge while driving, but defenders sagged off him in 2022/23, when his three-point percentage dipped to 31.2% after he shot 37.2% as a rookie. However, he’s in the midst of the most productive scoring stretch of his career because opposing defenses now have to respect his outside shot — he’s up to 41.7% from deep this season.

Over his first two seasons, Dosunmu scored 20-plus points five times. He’s matched that total since January 13 alone, Johnson notes. During that 17-game span, he has scored in double figures 16 times, averaging 15.8 PPG, 3.8 APG, 2.9 RPG and 1.1 SPG on .565/.513/.792 shooting in 33.3 MPG.

Dosunmu re-signed with Chicago on a three-year, $21MM deal as a restricted free agent last summer, which is looking like a bargain considering his improved offense and solid defense, Johnson adds.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • Head coach Billy Donovan has been relying on Alex Caruso to defend power forwards with Patrick Williams (season-ending foot surgery) and Torrey Craig (knee sprain) sidelined, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. While the All-Defensive First Team guard/forward is used to defending the opposing teams’ best players, he says it’ll be a team effort to make up for the size disadvantage. “I can makeshift for the majority of games,” Caruso said. “We’re going to have to do a better job covering up for each other. Maybe throw some more wrinkles into the game plan of coverages and giving different looks, a little more gimmicky stuff to buy us minutes here and there.”
  • In addition to Caruso, the Bulls have been getting rotation minutes at the small-ball four spot from Dalen Terry and Julian Phillips, a pair of young players eager to make their mark in the NBA, Cowley writes for The Sun-Times. “We know we’re short-handed right now, but the way the vets on this team talk to me, talk to Julian, they preach don’t be afraid of the challenge,” Terry said. “This is how you’re going to make your name in the league if you want to be here for a long time.” He had some rough patches in Sunday’s win over New Orleans, but Terry was also a team-high plus-17 in his 15 minutes, Cowley notes.
  • Chicago’s victory over the Pelicans was the latest evidence of DeMar DeRozan stepping up when the team needed him most, Cowley states in another story. The Bulls were down 12 points in the third quarter, but DeRozan responded by scoring 10 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth, including a three-pointer that sealed the victory with 30 seconds remaining. “It might not always be pretty for us, but they’re going to fight,” Donovan said. “I don’t think they’re in the business of: ‘OK, Patrick’s done, Torrey is down, we’re playing against a really big team, we have no chance. We’ll just go through the motions.’ I don’t think they have that mentality. I think DeMar thrives on that. I think he thrives on chaos. I think he thrives on uncertainty.”
View Comments (3)