Aussies in NBA: Rare ‘Bear’ sightings not sign of extinction

With Bobby Portis seeing consistent playing time this past month, you could be forgiven for thinking that Cameron Bairstow has become the forgotten man in Chicago’s rotation.

Whilst Portis’ minutes have been solidly sitting around the 20 to 25 minute mark, Bairstow has had to endure sporadic game time.

Bairstow only appeared in 5 of the Bulls' 12 games in February, but also saw his minutes tick over into double figures 3 times.

Whilst Bairstow’s per game stats of 1.6 points and 1.6 rebounds pale in comparison to Portis’ 7.5 and 5.3, fans of ‘Bear’ need not panic just yet.

Despite limited opportunities, and missed chances such as a blowout loss to the Hawks where Bairstow went 0-4 from the floor in 14 minutes, February was the most productive month of Bairstow’s season.

Bairstow more than doubled his best monthly points per game mark, averaging 3ppg, and has improved across the board with 1.8rpg, 0.4blks and an assist for the month.

These improved numbers have no doubt been aided by great performances in his other big minute games in February: 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in 19 minutes in a loss to the Hornets, and 4 points, 4 rebounds and an assist against the Nuggets.

Bairstow's other competitor for front court playing time, Cristiano Felicio, saw action in 9 games for February, but Bairstow has been far more productive, averaging slightly more rebounds, and more than double in points.

Given the chance, it's likely Bear can hold his own in the league. For the time being, it appears Coach Hoiberg favours Portis' length, and his intensity on the offensive boards - Bairstow failed to track any down this past month.

With the Rio Olympics looming, an improving Cam Bairstow is exactly what Boomers fans want to see, but Bulls fans may just have to be a little more patient.