Cameron Bairstow demonstrated considerable defensive prowess in today's Summer League action by recording 5 blocks against the Toronto Raptors. The Bulls survived 84-80 to take the win, with Bairstow contributing 8 points, 5 rebounds in 24 minutes.
The sophomore big man anchored Chicago's interior defense and was at hand to challenge Toronto's forays into the paint. Having a rim protector tightened the Bulls' defense considerably, and it was especially true in the case of Gary Talton, who received two blocks at the hands of Bairstow.
“I’ve been working on (the three) a bit, so it was a good opportunity to try things out and expand your game a little bit,” Bairstow said. “It’s also the system. It’s been more open, more flow. So it gives you an opportunity to do different things. I’ve just been trying to get comfortable to be in position where I can be successful. - source
The three-point shot is Bairstow's latest weapon, and he's using the Summer League to work the kinks out. The former Lobo has shot a decent 35.7% (5 of 14) in the Las Vegas Summer League so far. Despite missing both his shots from deep in this game, Bairstow continues to demonstrate an improved offensive repertoire around the three-point shot.
During the first quarter, he received the ball in the corner. Instead of pulling the trigger right away, he baited Nogueira into jumping for the shot and took a dribble inwards for the pullup.
[gfycat data_id="MammothPoliteCopepod" data_autoplay=true data_expand=true] Having a stretch five like Bairstow weakens opposing interior defenses, and gives the other Bulls opportunities to attack the paint at will. Combine that with the stalwart rim protection we've seen so far, and a new head coach who's professed a liking for Bairstow's style of play?
Despite the stacked front court, Bairstow's chances at increased minutes certainly looks positive.