After starring at the University of North Carolina, Reggie Bullock has not found success at the NBA level.
The 26-year-old, 6’7” wing has played for three different clubs (Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons) over his four-year career thus far, but saw a career-high in points per game (4.5), rebounds per game (2.1) and minutes per game (15.1) last year for the Pistons.
Despite being limited to just 68 games due to injuries over the past two seasons with Detroit, head coach Stan Van Gundy revealed that he has big plans for Bullock moving forward. Since Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, the team will look to fill some of his offensive void with Bullock, who signed a two-year, $5 million deal to remain with the team earlier this summer.
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"A lot of people focus on Reggie's shooting, which is very good, but to me it's more the way he plays the game," Van Gundy told Ansar Khan of MLive.com. "The ball moves when he's out there, he makes quick decisions, he moves very well without the ball, he helps other people play well. And at the other end he defends, so he's a two-way player who helps your team function at both ends of the floor.”
Over two seasons, Bullock converted 50 of his 126 long-range attempts (39.7 percent). Not only can he knock down the deep ball with near-elite accuracy, but Van Gundy praised his ability to move without the ball, calling him the team’s top cutter.
"This league has become one where being able to move the ball is very, very important and Reggie is someone who promotes ball movement," Van Gundy noted. "The ball does not stick in his hands. If he's got a shot he takes it, if not, the ball moves. So, people enjoy playing with him. So, as important as the shooting is, and we certainly needed it, it's a lot more than that that we see in Reggie and that's why we wanted him back.”
While the Pistons were able to land Avery Bradley in a trade with the Boston Celtics and will also likely start Tobias Harris alongside of him, Bullock will likely receive a shot to play substantial time within the rotation, along with rookie Luke Kennard and the versatile Stanley Johnson. Van Gundy noted that the shift to a smaller NBA will lead to a player like Bullock receiving more minutes in the future.
"The way the league has gone over the last few years there's a lot of guys like Reggie who are twos that are playing a lot of three because the league is trending smaller," Van Gundy explained. "Then, when you look at our roster, I think there will be a lot of times we'll play lineups with essentially three guards, where Reggie will be at the three.”
The coach added, “If you go back 10 years, he's definitely a two, but those guys are all playing the three and there's not a whole lot of difference between the positions. The other thing is Reggie has always rebounded the ball well for his size, so we don't lose much if we play him at the three, in terms of rebounding the ball."
Therefore, while he most likely won’t start, watch for Bullock to be a possible breakout player on what should be a much-improved Eastern Conference squad.