|Minutes Per Game||9.2|
|Shooting Splits||35 FG% |
|Points Per Game||2.7|
|Rebounds Per Game||1.3|
|Assists Per Game||0.3|
|Steals Per Game||0.2|
There were few expectations for the University of North Carolina product coming into the 2013-14 season.
With J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley added to the roster via trade, there was little breathing room for Reggie Bullock to creep into the rotation and toward the beginning of the season, that was true. But due to injuries to the wing position, Bullock was given the opportunity to show what he was capable of during his rookie season, with two things stick out: defense and shooting.
During his years at North Carolina, Bullock gained the tag of being a three-point shooter. And rightfully so. Each year, Bullock’s three-point percentages increased, jumping from 29 percent during his freshman season to 38 percent his sophomore season to 43 percent his junior year. That shooting touch never came into fruition in the NBA. It’s tough for a player to maintain consistency when his minutes are sporadic, but Bullock struggled at one of his two biggest strengths, making him quite the liability when on the floor. With Reggie Bullock on the floor, the Clippers posted an offensive rating of 97.1, down 13 points when Bullock was on the bench. It’s difficult to separate the meaningful minutes from the garbage time minutes, but watching Bullock play, the offense just wasn’t where it was expected to be.
On the season, Bullock shot 22-73 from three, or 30 percent. Per Synergy, Bullock shot 34.% on spot-up threes and 25% on transition threes. Had he been able to consistently knock that shot down, Bullock may have been able to sneak into the rotation.
The one strength that did shine through was his ability to defend on the perimeter. It’s not often rookies come out of college with sound defensive fundamentals, but Bullock proved to be the second best wing defender on the roster behind Matt Barnes. At 6 foot 7, Bullock made good usage of his wing span and foot speed. Rarely relying on his hands, Bullock made good work of his opponents on that end. Per Synergy Sports, players shot 40.7% when guarded by Bullock in isolation sets and 35.3% in post-ups. The sample sizes are extremely small, but the eye test confirms what these numbers say: Bullock is a good defender.
Unfortunately for Bullock, an untimely ankle against the Cleveland Cavaliers killed his chances of becoming a rotation player as he missed minutes when the rotation needed him most. As Bullock missed time, the Clippers would sign Stephen Jackson, Sasha Vujacic, Darius Morris, and eventually Danny Granger to fill the void in the wing unit. Had Bullock remained healthy, there’s a chance he could have turned into a 10-12 minute per game player, especially with Jared Dudley’s slide out of the rotation and the Clippers looking desperately for someone that could actually defend during the playoffs.
There’s a lot of optimism for Reggie Bullock going into next season. His strengths fit the Clippers biggest weakness: he can defend and he can defend well. We saw countless times in both the regular season and postseason how important it was for the Clippers wings to be able to defend. Is Bullock going to be an All-Defense member throughout his career? Is he going to stop Russell Westbrook from averaging 27.8 points cold turkey during a playoff series? That’s doubtful, but he’ll provide Doc Rivers with an extra body to throw at the increasing amount of perimeter players that are taking the league by storm.
With J.J. Redick approaching the tail end of his career (his birthday is in 20 days, he’ll be thirty), there’s a chance that Bullock could slide into the “shooting guard of the future” role. And looking at the Clippers roster going into the summer, there is ample room for Bullock to move up on the depth chart for next season. There is no guarantee Jamal Crawford returns as his contract is non guaranteed going forward, Danny Granger holds a player option, Willie Green is unlikely to be returned, and there’s an outside chance that Jared Dudley is moved for pennies on the dollar to clear cap space for the future.
Depending on how much trust Rivers instill in the now-sophomore, 10-15 minutes a night could be next for Reggie Bullock.