The Knicks have been rumored to be in the market for a veteran point guard who can create some offense and add shooting while fitting into coach Thibodeau’s defensive schemes. They would be able to cross off some of those needs by drafting the 6’5” junior guard out of Illinois, Ayo Dosunmu.
Dosunmu is a balanced, versatile player who plays under control, reads the defense and does what is needed of him. He can be a playmaker and get his teammates involved when needed, as evident by his 5.3 assists per game. He did average more than three turnovers a game but was still pretty good at seeing the floor and dissecting the defense in pick-and-rolls.
The former Illini also showed that he can dominate the game with his scoring if needed. During his junior year, he averaged 20.1 PPG on 48.8% from the field, 39.3 from 3 and 78.3% from the free throw line. He isn’t an elite leaper but does have a pretty good first step which, along with his array of hesitation moves and Euro steps, allows him to get into the paint with relative ease. Once there, he is able to score around the rim with creative and crafty finishes, though his lack of vertical explosiveness and lack of strength does hold him back as a finisher at times. Also, his three-point shot is by no means a finished product as his release point is somewhat low and his shot overall is a bit slow, but when on balance and given enough space and time, he was able to knock down them down at a good rate. Scouts would probably liked to have seen him excel a bit more at shooting from distance off of the dribble, but he did show that he can get hot from three when operating as a catch-and-shoot player.
In addition to his multi-faceted offensive skills and ability to play both on ball and off the ball, Dosunmu has the strength, size, and ability to play both guard positions on defense. This kind of versatility can often help rookies crack the rotation and get playing time, which could give him the chance to contribute immediately. The Chicago native could also find a quick connection to Thibodeau, who coached in Chicago, and to Rose, a former Bull and Chicago native himself.
Dosunmu might be be better utilized as a energizer coming off the bench, something the Knicks already have in Immanuel Quickley. But he is a tantalizing prospect with the potential to be a very solid starter. There are still questions about his shot and play-making skills and what his best attribute is. Critics also point to the point that he doesn’t have one elite skill and profiles more as a “tweener” guard — one who doesn’t fit the mold of a true PG because he doesn’t have the natural instincts of a floor general, but doesn’t fit the mold of a SG because of his shaky finishing abilities. That being said, he does a lot of things pretty well and the Knicks could end up with a very versatile player that can play both sides of the ball and help them with a little bit of everything.
I’m not sure if Ayo fits with the Knicks at 19 or 21, But if he’s still on the board at 32, perhaps New York will take a chance.