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Ayo Dosunmu - A Good Fit for Philadelphia?

PTS/G 20.1

REBS/G 6.3

ASTS/G 5.3

STLS/G 1.1

BLKS/G 0.2

FG% 48.8

3PT% 39.0

FT% 78.3

Ayo Dosunmu was one of college basketball's brightest stars last season. The numbers and accolades speak for themselves. He was a consensus First Team All-American, the Bob Cousy Award winner (given to the nation's best point guard), and the runner-up for Naismith National Player of the Year, behind only Iowa big man Luka Garza. The 6'5", 200 pound guard led his team to a Big Ten conference championship, and a #1 overall seed in the big dance. Although they were eliminated in the second round, the Illinois junior ultimately declared for the 2021 draft, and is currently slated to be a late first round or early second round pick.

Dosunmu is a very good finisher at the rim despite not having great straight line speed or a lot of bounce. But, what he lacked in those departments is made up for in agility and elusiveness. He was at his best as a slasher and showed off an ability to convert a wide variety of shots at all different angles, including euro-steps and floaters. With his great positional size and fluidity, he has always been a strong transition player. He was a true pick and roll maestro and created tons of offense both for himself, and others through these sets. I would like to see him not shy away from contact and to try to get all the way to the rim as opposed to being stopped short, both of which are things that should happen with added strength to prevent him from being pushed around inside.

Dosunmu has got the ball on a string, and was great at controlling the pace of the game. He knew how to manipulate the defense to get to the rim, and could make a lane to the hoop out of seemingly nothing. All in all, he is a strong decision maker who keeps the defense guessing and has the patience to wait for plays to develop. He does need to be more careful to limit turnovers, but a good amount of these came because it was extremely easy to strip him on drives. That will be something to clean up, but not a major concern regarding his ability to make the right reads. I wouldn't classify him as a legitimate floor general, but he is about as solid and consistent as a 21-year-old gets.

As a 6'5 guard with a 6'10 wingspan, Dosunmu's defensive potential is pretty high. He was solid at the point of attack at Illinois, staying in front, or at least staying attached to his man, at all times. Very rarely did he get just outright blown by. He navigated screens very well, and did so while staying under control. He forced a fair amount of turnovers, but he absolutely could be more disruptive on the perimeter. He also was a very strong rebounder for his position. Again, adding strength will help him out more on this end to deal with more physical guards and with switches. I definitely think he will end up being a net positive on this end in the league, and he should offer more defensive versatility than most guards, being able to pick up both guard positions and some smaller wings as well.

The biggest area of development for Dosunmu and his game through his three seasons at Illinois was definitely in his ability to score. The bulk of his shotmaking came out of the pick and roll, a huge reason for his explosion in production. In the half-court, he shot a blistering 46.2% from mid-range. It's all about continuing to work his range out in time, and for his trigger to get a little bit quicker with added range. And as his team's closer, he hit several huge shots down the stretch of close games throughout the course of their season. That being said, he isn't a true bucket getter right now. He's not a player who thrives in isolation or is a modern perimeter scorer. He can be a table setter, and provide good clean offense to his team, but isn't a hub of scoring all by himself.

His perimeter shot is not bad by any means, but a low number of attempts (.191 3PA rate) is less than encouraging for someone trying to make it as a guard. As a matter of fact, he ended up taking less and less threes as the years went by. But even more important than converting a higher percentage, Dosunmu has to be more willing to take them. I understand his game is better suited for drives to the cup or using a screen to break down a defense, but in the NBA, he will not get anywhere near the freedom to run an offense like he had in college. 39% from deep is great, don't get me wrong. But the ability to consistently take (more so than make) more threes and be a better off-ball player will go a long way to him being successful at the next level.

I would say it's pretty realistic that Dosunmu ends up being the guy the Sixers take in the first round. I think it is unlikely he gets taken before their pick at #28, but you just never know with a draft. Production in college doesn't always result in high draft stock, fairly or unfairly. Although 21 certainly isn't old, it does seem a bit discouraging for a guard who has questions with how he will adjust to a far less ball-centric role to be taken by any team in the first round with a ball-dominant core of talent.

Until the Ben Simmons situation comes to a solution one way or another, it will be difficult to see what they should do with their first round pick this season - if they even keep it at all. The guard rotation at this very moment is actually quite full. Simmons and Seth Curry started last season, but you still have Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, George Hill, and Isaiah Joe under contract next season. And that's not including free agents to be Danny Green and Furkan Korkmaz, both of which the Sixers hold their bird rights (meaning they can go over the salary cap to re-sign them if they please). Of course, depending on who is being acquired in the presumed Simmons trade, some of those names may not still be here.

Point is, that's a lot of guys to be competing with. Especially when you consider the amount of youth in that group. In order to let young players grow, they first must be given an opportunity. Even if that means he spends a season (or two) primarily with the Blue Coats. But I think Ayo is better than that. As someone who brings a little bit of everything to the table and has both winning and leadership experience at 21 years of age, I think he can come into a team and be an immediate contributor on most teams. And barring a bombshell of a trade where half this Sixers roster is sent elsewhere (Portland), my question is as follows: what will his role look like, if he has one at all? In the event said bombshell does go down, where half the names listed above are no longer here, do you trust him to fill in and play rotation minutes every night as a rookie?

NBA comparison: Delon Wright. For now, less of a shooter, more of a slasher. Very well-rounded; contributes in all areas. Doesn't necessarily have a standout best attribute in his game. Has been very impactful for a handful of teams either starting or being one of the first guys off the bench, and has spent significant time at both guard slots. Should have a respectable career as a productive rotational piece.

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