Name: Cameron Bairstow Age: 23 School: New Mexico
Height: 6’9 Weight: 250 Projected Position: PF
2013-14 Stats (as of 1/25/14):
20.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.4 bpg, 1.8 tpg (31.8 minutes per game)
56.3 FG%, 74.4 FT%, 61.9 TS%, 56.3 eFG%
28.9 USG%, 8.7 ORB%, 15.3 DREB%, 12.2 TRB%
Photo: AP/Eric Draper
SKILLS & ATHLETIC BREAKDOWN
Bairstow uses his body well to establish position in the post area, and he has developed a few moves to allow him to score around the basket. He has very good touch around the basket, though while he is aggressive looking to get a shot, he will often settle for short jumpers instead of going strong to the basket. Bairstow has improved his footwork in the post, has shown that he can make moves over either shoulder, and uses his body well to muscle up shots against bigger defenders. He is also strong at facing up out of the post and knocking down the short jumper or using his dribble to get by his man into the lane, and depending on the defender, will often go this as his first option. He has improved greatly, but can still be a bit awkward and out of control with his moves, though not anywhere as often as he used to be. One area I would like to see Bairstow do more is using his left hand to shoot around the basket, especially when his moves leave the defender on his right side. He will look to find ways to get shots off with his right hand, no matter where the defender is, though at the college level, it does a good job drawing some fouls. Also, Bairstow needs to continue working on being able to sense help defenders and being able to locate and make a quick pass to a teammate consistently. He has shown the ability to make the good pass out of the post, but not as often as he could. Bairstow is a strong screener, and when he sets screens out on the perimeter, his good footwork allows him to open up quickly and roll to the basket, where he can then use his scoring ability to find ways to get a good shot off.
Bairstow handles the ball well for his size, and is capable of using either hand well, though he will often rely on his right hand. Bairstow is very good at making a move to the basket when he gets the ball within 15 feet of the basket, and he has improved his first step tremendously over the past few years. Also, with his ability to knock down jumpers consistently, he is able to force defenders to come out and guard him, giving him the opportunity to look to make a dribble move by them. When going to the basket, Bairstow uses his body well to shield defenders from the ball, and is capable of hitting shots in a variety of ways around the basket, as well as finishing through contact. Bairstow needs to do a better job keeping his head up when heading to the basket and sensing where the help defenders are coming from. Also, he has tendency to try and force shots up with his right hand around the basket when he has driven to the left, which can lead to block opportunities for the defense. As with his post moves, his moves to the basket can still be a bit awkward and not with ideal control, but he has done a tremendous job improving.
Bairstow has taken great strides with his jumper, both with consistency and range. He does a good job getting square to the basket, has a high release and good follow-through. His motion isn’t very fluid and he seems to have odd spacing with his legs when he shoots, but it’s working for him, though he sometimes has trouble getting into his motion quick enough before a defender closes on him. He will have to work on getting his body set as he catches the ball and being ready to get into his shooting motion. Also, he seems to have his shooting arm straight out in front of him and uses mostly wrist to shoot the ball, which makes it tougher from longer ranges. Still, he is a good option consistently at 15 feet-17 feet and combined with his screening ability, makes him a good option for pick-and-pop plays.
Free Throw Shooting
Bairstow is a good free throw shooter, though his shooting motion can use some improvement. His shooting motion isn’t very fluid in that he instead of going into his release as he lifts up from his legs, there is a slight pause causing him to shoot straight-legged. It doesn’t hurt when his shots are on target, but when he is off, you can see how flat the shot is coming off his fingers, and he won’t get many generous bounces. Bairstow does a very good job drawing, and finishing, through contact around the basket. He is aggressive going to the basket when he has the ball and won’t shy away from getting hit, allowing him to get to the free throw line at a very strong rate (almost .75 free throws for every field goal attempt). Hitting his shots at almost 75% adds up to a lot of easy points.
Perimeter Defense (On/Off Ball)
Bairstow continues to improve as an on-ball defender and he moves surprisingly well for his size. He positions himself well between his man and the basket, maintains a good defensive stance, though he needs to watch his balance, and has average lateral movement. Bairstow does a good job maintaining position as his man moves with or without the ball, though he needs to do a better job using angles to cut off his man if he gets beat quickly. Bairstow does a strong job closing on perimeter shooters, though he needs to watch falling for shot fakes and getting drawn in the air. Off the ball, Bairstow positions himself well, putting himself in an area where he can get to his man and help around the lane if needed, though he has a tendency to shade towards the lane area a little too far, leaving him a lot of room to make up if his man gets the ball and can shoot.
Post Defense/Help Defense
Bairstow is a solid post defender, creating a wide base with his legs and uses his lower body to try and force his man away from the basket. His footwork has improved and he does a good job cutting off moves to either side of him, and can defend against players who go to the face-up out of the post. Though he uses his body well, he needs to watch out for using his hands a little too much to push his man away, especially after first contact is made. Bairstow has good defensive awareness and is capable of being a good help defender around the basket, though he doesn’t challenge as many shots as he could. He’s not a great leaper and if a player takes a quick shot, he likely won’t get to it, but if the player hesitates, Bairstow has good timing and can block shots. He extends well and does a strong job not creating contact when he does go after shots. In pick-and-roll situations, Bairstow has improved how he hedges on the ballhandler, though he can sometimes hesitate a bit, giving the ballhandler room to make a move or get a good look at the basket. After he hedges, he does a good job tracking his man and recovering or calling out a switch on the rotation with a teammate.
Bairstow does a very good job tracking missed shots and getting into position to grab the rebound. He uses his body well to establish position, though he needs to be consistently aggressive in going after the ball. He uses his body well to shield the offense from getting to the ball, but he has to watch using his arms and upper body to box out instead of using his lower body. Bairstow clears out his area well and is an improving outlet passer. On the offensive end, Bairstow could be more aggressive going after shots on the offensive end, though when he does get his hands on the ball, he is quick to get a second shot up, using his body well to clear space.
Bairstow runs the floor well for his size and he is a good option on the secondary break for a mid-range jumper or heading on a straight line to the basket.
Often with seniors you will see the sum of improvement over four seasons, but not often is there a huge improvement between junior and senior seasons. Bairstow has done a tremendous job putting in work at every part of his game, while also working as hard to become stronger and fitter. Combining his natural ability with improved skill, plus the ability to constantly be moving and looking to make plays on both ends, makes Bairstow the kind of player that coaches will love. Currently putting up over 20 points per game without seeming to dominate the ball on offense is a rarity in college basketball, and allows him to work on the court in different spots as the team needs him. Obviously, there are still a lot of parts of his game that need to be polished, but there is also no reason for it to happen sooner rather than later when you see how hard he works at improving.
Draft Value: Early-Mid 2nd Round – #35-43
Bairstow is an odd case because not many would have predicted this level of improvement this season and when watching him, there seems to be more room for improvement. The way his game is now, it is very well suited to come off the bench and provide strong minutes with his almost frantic energy on the floor. He needs to become a better rebounder and defender at his size, but he has the tools to get it done. Some teams may look at his game and not be sure what to make of it, but I have little doubt that he can help almost any team as a role player rather quickly.
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