Aussies in NBA: Bairstow's uphill battle continues
|Michael Tozer||Jan 11, 2016|
Cameron Bairstow hasn't seen the court time he might have been hoping for. There's no way he'd be a consistent rotational player on the Bulls, and the numbers prove it. He has only appeared on the box sheet seven times this season, for a grand total of 25 minutes.
Bairstow presents an interesting case for increased consistent game time, the question being whether his 1 point and 1.3 rebounds in his six appearances on the court merit the decision. While Bairstow has been limited in his time on the court, only playing 3.7 minutes per outing, there may be more for him to show.
"He's another guy who is a true pro, he is fun to work with, a great kid and he handled it like a champ and went down there [D-League] and played a lot of valuable minutes." - Fred Hoiberg on Cameron Bairstow, Bairstow works away with Bulls as Olympics beckon
There are two problems for Bear. The first is Chicago's loaded front-court. Pau Gasol is a virtual-lock to play thirty minutes or more per game, and looks to be a potential All-Star for the sixth time in his illustrious career. Nikola Mirotic continues to emerge as a player the Bulls can rely on, and provides invaluable floor spacing, knocking down triples at 34.5%.
Off the bench, there's even more depth for the 25-year old Bairstow to beat off. Joakim Noah has altered his game and is now producing off the bench, while first-year player Bobby Portis has made outstanding use of his game time to pick up more front-court minutes. Taj Gibson continues to be efficient off the bench as well.
As we can see, that rotation is basically impossible for Bairstow to crack, with the wealth of talent available at Fred Hoiberg's disposal.
The play of Cristiano Felicio is the second problem for Cam. Felicio has been efficient whilst in the D-League, putting up similar numbers to Cam at the same position. While it is a small sample size, through two outings Felicio is averaging 15 points, 4.67 rebounds and 1.33 blocks on 65.5% shooting, some fairly impressive numbers.
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As shown in the table above, the D-league statistics which is the only true way to compare these players --due to limited NBA game time-- indicates very similar stats.
"You do what you can and when your chance comes you try to make the most of it." - Cameron Bairstow, Bairstow works away with Bulls as Olympics beckon
Both players (once Felicio returns from the D-League), will be gunning for the same minutes, leaving the other relegated to the end of the bench. Regardless of what happens in Chicago, Cam fully understands his role within the franchise, and really is the ultimate team player, playing without an ego and overall just happy to showcase his skills whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Bear made a positive impression on the court during Sunday's blowout loss to Chicago. In 3 on-court minutes, he hit on his only shot, recording 1 rebound and 1 steal as well.
Cam made a nice little defensive play, which can be seen below as the time ticked down on the game. He managed to get front position on the slashing Justin Holiday, as he came around the pick. Bear had his feet planted on impact with Holiday, forcing him into a terrible shot with the help of Bobby Portis.
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Cam's bucket came almost a minute later, as he positioned himself so Tony Snell could make an easy pass out of an ambitious double-team. He then proceeded his ability to knock down the a terrific mid-range jumper from the free-throw line.
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Being efficient with his minutes, like he was against Atlanta, will help propel Bairstow to a greater role within the organization.
Hopefully he can live up to this play on a consistent basis in games to come.