Like most NBA second-round picks, Cameron Bairstow's rookie season was spent soaking in as much knowledge and gaining valuable experience in practice behind seasoned veterans.
But in his second season, with a new head coach touting a new offensive style and pace, Bairstow is looking to expand his game in hopes of earning more playing time with the Bulls.
It began last month during the Las Vegas Summer League, when Bairstow connected on 5 of 14 3-pointers in five games. Playing directly in front of Hoiberg, who coached the team, Bairstow averaged 8.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and a team-high 2.6 blocks.
"For me to be able to stretch the floor," he told Sportal's Simon Legg, "I think will increase my value in the league.
"That's something I've been able to work on, and was successful in Summer League. It's something I'm comfortable with, in terms of spacing the floor."
Realistically Bairstow isn't in the Bulls' immediate or future plans. Touting one of the deepest and most talented frontcourts in the NBA, Hoiberg will have Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic at his disposable to divide up the 96 minutes at power forward and center. The team also used its first-round pick on power forward Bobby Portis.
Still, it's nice to see Bairstow adapting to both the NBA game and his new head coach's style. If he's able to diversify his game it can only improve his stock as a practice player and potential injury fill-in, as was the case when he started a November road game against the Nuggets. In that contest he played 19 minutes, scoring two points and grabbing two rebounds.