Even though his play in Summer League was marginal, Cameron Bairstow should be all smiles going into training camp this fall. He is part of a team that will be contending for an NBA Title this season, whose franchise player is returning from injury, has the top five coaches in the league, and most importantly, he gets to learn and grow behind All-Pro center Joakim Noah. Yep, Bairstow should feel beyond lucky to be a member of the Chicago Bulls.
Bairstow won’t be seeing a lot of floor time this season with the frontcourt depth the Bulls have acquired, but that doesn’t mean that Bairstow won’t continue to fight for minutes on this team. As he showed in Summer League play, Bairstow is a scrappy player with the size and grit to make it as a center in the NBA.
But most importantly, he will be standing face-to-face with Noah everyday in practice throughout the entire 2014-2015 season. That is intimidating just to think about, but the amount he will learn playing against Noah everyday along side his work with coach Tom Thibodeaus and his coaching staff could turn Bairstow into a nice rotation player for the Bulls by the end of this season.
Bairstow’s style of play and current situation in Chicago reminds me quite a bit of when the Bulls drafted Omer Asik. It took a season for Asik to really find his way into the rotation for the Bulls before playing a major role in the team’s success during the 2011-2012 season. Asik earned himself a sizable contract from the Houston Rockets the following summer. Bairstow could be very well on his way to the same sort of ascension in the Bulls roster.
He certainly will need time to develop, but battling Noah, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson everyday in practice alongside rookies Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic, who are hungry for playing time, can only benefit Bairstow this season and beyond.
Bairstow couldn’t have asked for a better situation as a second round pick and we will see a much-improved big man on both ends of the court in April 2015.