Hi, everyone. Exciting series of basketball going down between two teams, eh? I feel pretty confident that someone is going to win that series. That's my hot sports take. But you're probably here to read about an NBA prospect. On to the topic of today's post: UNC sharpshooter Reggie Bullock.
Reggie Bullock is a 6'7" guard/forward who can both hit the three and defend. You might know this already, because I've been vocally (textually?) in support of drafting Bullock all season. Bullock is honestly not the most exciting prospect for many people. He's the kind of guy who takes layups in transition as opposed to dunks. That kind of player. Still, I'm very close to convinced that he's the absolute best fit for the Knicks among prospects in their draft range.
D.O.B. - 03/16/1991 (22 years old)
Hometown - Kinston, NC
Measurements: Height (w/o shoes) - 6'5.75"; Height (in shoes) - 6'7"; Weight - 200 lbs; Wingspan - 6'8.75", Max Vert - 36.5", Lane Agility - 11.33
Projected Draft Position: 27th to DEN on DraftExpress, 26th to MIN on Chris Mannix's Sports Illustrated Mock Draft, 40th to POR on NBADraft.net
Amateur Take - Offense: Reggie Bullock quietly expanded his game throughout his UNC career, but remains largely the same player he was when he stepped on campus. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it helps us get a clear picture of Bullock's role at the next level. His junior year saw a career high in usage rate at just 15% and while Bullock did make an effort to be more aggressive after UNC lost Harrison Barnes to the NBA in the 2012 NBA draft, it's clear that he is unlikely to be more than a role player.
Bullock's offense is largely based around his ability to stretch the floor with his jump shot. Bullock knocked down threes at a blistering 42.9% clip during his junior year at Chapel Hill, and threes made up over half his field goal attempts. He got his threes in a variety of situations, showing the ability to both spot up and come off of screens for jumpers. Bullock posted an impressive 1.15 PPP when shooting off of screens and that situation made up a fifth of his total offense. Twice in the DraftExpress scouting clip we see Bullock run to the top of the key off of a basic elevator doors action, losing his defender in a maze of screens and knocking down the three. He seems able to connect on jumpers even with mild contests, which will be key for his smooth transition into the NBA. Bullock also shot over 50% from 2-point range during both his sophomore and junior years, albeit on limited attempts. His offense is mostly limited to shots at the rim and from the three, though he also is capable of springing open for a catch-and-shoot mid-range jumper. He is a below-average ball-handler and is unlikely to threaten consistently off the dribble, at least early in his pro career. Bullock simply isn't comfortable shooting off the dribble and loses his mechanics when asked to do so. He is also weak going to the rim and settles for floaters instead of attacking his defender. He shows great potential attacking the paint on straight-line drives and dumping the ball off to cutters (more on this later) but otherwise finds that gaudy 2PT% on transition and off-ball cuts.
Bullock supplements his smooth shooting stroke with advanced skill at moving without the ball. He does a good job reading defenses and punishing defenders for overplaying him. Cuts made up 6.4% of his offensive possessions and he scored 1.46 PPP on those looks. The Knicks' offense did not always generate a healthy amount of backdoor cuts, but that may also have to do with the personnel involved. It shouldn't hurt adding a player who knows when to cut to the rim for easy looks. Bullock also gives great effort running the floor in transition, where he found 21% of his offense and scored 1.37 PPP. He shows patience when attacking the rim in space and sometimes contorts his body into surprisingly acrobatic finishes around defenders. That motor would be welcome on a Knicks team that also struggled to generate much transition offense. Bullock produced a lot of easy, efficient shots for the Tar Heels last season and will hopefully be able to do so for whichever franchise selects him in the draft.
Finally, an underrated aspect of Bullock's offense is his ability to create for others. Bullock is extremely unselfish, generating 3.5 assists per 40 minutes despite his role in the offense. More impressive still is his assist to turnover ratio: Bullock earned 2.21 assists for every turnover he had, which leads all wing prospects in DraftExpress' top 100 prospects. His turnover rate of 12% ranks in the bottom tenth of DraftExpress' top 100. He rarely makes mistakes with the ball in his hands and knows when to give the ball up to a teammate and when to look to score. These are ideal attributes for any NBA player and may indicate potential for Bullock to even start for a good team.
Amateur Take - Defense: Reggie Bullock is a very willing defender. He puts in good effort on that end and repeatedly mentions his defense as a part of his ability to contribute at the next level. He's a scrappy player and comes up with loose balls and defensive rebounds often, which will certainly help him stick in the NBA. He isn't the type of player who makes a ton of defensive plays (1.6 steals per 40, .4 blocks per 40), but has shown the effort and the willingness to take on the best scorer on the opposing team and hold his own. Bullock will probably need to gain some weight to defend NBA small forwards, but that shouldn't be a problem considering his frame. The main concern regarding Bullock's defense at the next level is his mediocre lateral quickness. He isn't slow, but he got beaten off the dribble at times in college and NBA ball-handlers are faster and more explosive than their college counterparts. I don't think it should be a huge issue for Bullock, but it is something to watch for. It certainly won't help address the Knicks' failure to deny penetration from perimeter scorers.
Random Red Flag: UNC head coach Roy Williams voiced concerns regarding Bullock's transition into the NBA. From NorthCarolina.scout.com:
"We've had 12 guys leave early and all of them have been with my blessing, but I was more concerned and am more concerned about Reggie... I'm hoping that one team will pick him in the first round. I'm more worried about Reggie than I have been about any of those other guys, but gosh, what a great, great kid. I hope it does really work out for him. But he is the one that I said, 'Reggie, I don't think this is the smartest thing to do.' But, again, that's what the youngster wanted to do."
Coach Williams wasn't particularly specific about what exactly his concerns were regarding Bullock leaving for the NBA, but he seems supportive anyways. Bullock responded after hearing Coach Williams' comments saying, "Every coach is going to worry about his player turning pro. I understand his point. But I also feel I can do a lot of things in this draft that people haven't seen me do."
What exactly is Reggie referring to here? Rim-rocking dunks he decided to keep secret? Intense never-before-seen hamboning skills? Hidden Jutsus capable of preventing the revival of the Ten-Tails? We'll just have to wait and see.
- Grew up in a pretty tough neighborhood in Kinston. Gang activity, drug proliferation, and the like.
- His first name is indeed Reginald. This is important. Reginald Ryedell Bullock.
- Close with former Tar Heel and Kinston native Jerry Stackhouse. Stack is something of a father figure to Bullock.
- Majored in Communications. I majored in Communications. We were meant to be.
- Tore his lateral meniscus during his freshman year, but made a full recovery.
- I asked the gracious Brian Barbour of TarHeelBlog.com what he thought the best moment of Bullock's career was. Barbour named the UNC win over NC State this past season. UNC had lost to NC State earlier in the year at home, and were down 53-49 when the Heels came alive on a 21-4 run to secure the win. Bullock scored 11 of those 21 points (including three 3s) and finished with 22 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and no turnovers.
Let's Get Reel:
Reggie Bullock - North Carolina - Official Highlights - 2013 NBA Draft (via ACCDigitalNetwork) - I could spend the next half hour listening to the sound of Bullock's shots dropping perfectly through the net and kissing the iron on the way down.
Reggie Bullock Draft Combine Interview (via DraftExpress) - He keeps mentioning defense. Always makes sure to point out that he brings it on both ends of the court.
2010 McDonald's All-American Game - Duke vs. UNC: Smackdown (via DraftExpress) - Old video, but here's Reggie kicking it with a couple of bros in Kendall Marshall, Harrison Barnes, and Kyrie Irving. Duke and UNC rivalry is real.
- Efficient scoring inside the arc
- Excellent perimeter shooter; NBA range
- Ideal size and frame for an NBA wing
- Basketball IQ
- Runs the floor hard in transition
- Understands role expected in the NBA
- Scrappy; comes up with 50/50 balls
- Good rebounder for a wing on both ends
- Unselfish, looks to create for teammates when shot not available
- Extremely turnover-averse
- Good potential on defense
- Efficient scoring from 2PT range due to most of his FGAs coming in transition and off cuts, may not be able to find as many looks in the NBA
- Very limited ball-handler
- Little skill at pulling up off the dribble
- Struggles to finish against length
- Despite solid athleticism, not an above-the-rim athlete
- Rarely draws fouls
- Average lateral quickness
- Low ceiling
Final Thoughts: Reggie Bullock is my favorite prospect projected to be available when the Knicks pick at #24. Ideally, he fills a glaring need on the roster for a starting wing. The Knicks were at their best when Ronnie Brewer was a legitimate threat as a corner shooter and Bullock can provide an imitation or upgrade on what Brewer brought. Bullock is a capable defender and doesn't gamble on defense, which could provide a nice wing tandem next to Iman Shumpert. Bullock is skilled at running off of screens for open jumpshots, which could be valuable if the coaching staff draws up more offense for roleplayers. It's fairly easy to see how Bullock could help on offense. He shoots a high percentage, feeds teammates, and doesn't turn the ball over. Hand, meet glove.
Defensively, Bullock could make a big impact as well. One of the biggest problems the Knicks faced last season was a lack of size, encouraging double-teams and often ending in missed box-outs and 2nd chance points. If Bullock plays to his potential he could earn a role as the starting SF of the Knicks, allowing them to play a lineup traditional in size if not playstyle. His rebounding and willingness to box out would help protect the rim by preventing some easy looks the Knicks often surrendered last season. These are somewhat subtle changes, but could mean the difference between a top-15 and a top-10 defense. It wasn't so long ago that the Knicks boasted one of those, and merging that defense with the current offense would likely produce something close to a contender. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
Bullock seems to be a great fit for the Knicks. He isn't the flashiest prospect. Nor is he a sure thing, but who really is at the end of the first round? Bullock offers the potential for a complete starting unit, and one that can stick together for the season instead of morphing based on a wing player's current hot or cold streak. What do you guys think about rooting for a sharpshooting Reggie in New York?