With the 49th pick in the 2014 NBA draft the Chicago Bulls select, Cameron Bairstow…who? Unless you are a die-hard college basketball fan you probably have never heard of Bairstow, but the Australian power forward was taken in the second round of this year’s draft by the Bulls after a solid senior season at New Mexico. Before his senior season Bairstow had never averaged more than 10 PPG, but then out of nowhere he saw his scoring average double to 20.4 PPG to go along with 7.4 RPG and 1.5 BPG.
The Bulls already boast one of the deepest teams in the NBA, and with the addition of Pau Gasol the team should be very formidable especially on the front line, but where does that leave Bairstow? Joakim Noah and Gasol will probably be the starting center and power forward respectively, and Taj Gibson will come off the bench for either player. Furthermore, the newly acquired Nikola Mirotic figures to be higher on the depth chart than Bairstow. Bairstow likely won’t see many minutes, other than “garbage time”, in the beginning of the season, but you can be sure that head coach Tom Thibodeau will find a way to use him as the season goes on.
Bairstow will likely play a similar role that veteran Nazr Mohammed has played for the Bulls the past couple of seasons. Bairstow will get limited minutes but he will be a nice insurance policy that will come in and play hard every minute he is on the floor. Bairstow is a physical player with lots of energy that hustles and fights for rebounds. He might not be the most explosive athlete, but he will make up for it with his effort.
During the 2014 Summer League Bairstow showed some flashes of what he will bring to the Bulls, averaging a respectable 10.2 PPG and 7.0 RPG. The next time Bulls fans will see Bairstow will be later in August as he represents the Australian national team in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Some critics believe that Australia could medal in this tournament and Bairstow will be a contributing factor if the team hopes to do so. All in all Bairstow is another piece to the puzzle and will help make the Bulls the deepest team in the NBA.