CHICAGO – Just a year ago, he was a rookie second round pick looking to find his place on his hometown team. Now in 2022, Ayo Dosunmu has a chance to have a major impact for a second-straight season, and maybe in the starting lineup early.

With point guard Lonzo Ball out for an unspecified time due to a second knee surgery this year, the former Morgan Park High School and Illinois star is in a competition to start at that spot this preseason.

Already he got the chance on Tuesday to do that as he cracked the starting lineup against the Pelicans in the exhibition opener at the United Center. In 23 minutes, he was 3-of-5 from the field with ten points, three assists, and two rebounds in the four-point loss to New Orleans.

Whether he stays in that spot once the season begins is to be seen with no declarations made by Billy Donovan before the team’s regular season opener on October 19th against the Heat in Miami. The second-year guard figures to compete with Goran Dragic and rookie Dalen Terry for playing time at the point for the rest of the preseason.

But certainly, the start against the Pelicans signals that Dosunmu’s going to have another major role with the team just like he did in his rookie year.

Riddled with injuries all season, especially the one that cost Ball the second half of the season, Dosunmu started 40 of his 77 games that he played in the 2022-2023 campaign. He averaged 8.8 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game, playing a big role in getting the Bulls back to the playoffs.

Dosunmu didn’t see a lot of time in the first four playoff games against the Bucks, but he was able to start in Game 5 as the Bulls season ended in a loss in Milwaukee.

As he enters the 2022-2023 season where he’ll be counted on by the team once again, whether as a starter or bench player, Dosunmu has a few things he wants to improve on to make him even better in his second season.

“The stamina part. Just being able to have my stamina there throughout the whole season, and then just being able to be a reliable playmaker at all times,” said Dosunmu on September 28th. “There’s going to be a lot of times where teams are going to key in on Zach (LaVine), DeMar (DeRozan), Vooch (Nikola Vucevic), just being able to use my experience from last year and grow as a player and a reliable playmaker out there.”

That will be important for the guard whose found his place on this Bulls’ team.