Bullock's emergence making shooting guard rotation competition interesting
In a move expected by many, Reggie Bullock survived the roster cuts that saw three players pack their bags, but the guard's emergence as an offensive threat gives Stan Van Gundy another weapon in his arsenal. Bullock will most likely see the bulk of his minutes at shooting guard and small forward, with his primary competition for backup minutes likely being Jodie Meeks and Stanley Johnson. Both Johnson and Meeks had decent pre-season performances. The 24-year-old credits his breakthrough to the chip he has had on his shoulder since being traded by Phoenix over the offseason, as MLive's David Mayo relays:
"Disrespectful, that's what I see it as, disrespectful," Bullock said late Wednesday, when asked how it felt to be portrayed as an extra in the multi-player July trade with Phoenix, in which the Pistons' real target was Marcus Morris. "Like I said, I had confidence in myself. I knew that I was coming here with Marcus. I knew that's what they needed on the wing. But at the same time, I know what type of player I am, too."
"I've been in L.A., never really got an opportunity," he said. "I was in Phoenix, didn't get an opportunity. So I'm getting a small opportunity here, so I've got to be hungry for every chance I get to be out there on that court."
Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of confidence and consistency the third-year player has so far exuded, and the team have put some serious thought in picking up his 2016-2017 team option worth roughly $2.2 million according to Vince Ellis over at the Detroit Free Press.
Bullock's ability as a 3 & D player could eventually make veteran Jodie Meeks expendable, with Meek's lack of defense a known issue, which, coupled with his poor 2015 shooting season, will certainly create added pressure and competition at the two-guard spot; especially with Bullock eager to prove his worth to an Association that has so far not given him a fair shake. Let's see how the current rotation stands, with the Pistons set to open their season against the Atlanta Hawks in only a matter of days, who do you think has made the best case for minutes? Have your say in the comment section below.
Drive hoping to retain services of Thomas
The Grand Rapids Drive have set their eyes on retaining the services of Adonis Thomas, with the guard having been waived by the Pistons late last week along with Cartier Martin and Jordan Bachynski. As the Pistons' D-League affiliate, the Drive own the rights to up to four waived players, giving all three players a theoretical chance at joining the team. Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith, however, are focusing on Thomas, as Pistons.com's Keith Langlois explains:
The Pistons D-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, retain Thomas' rights. Thomas could entertain offers to play in a foreign league, though, where the money is often significantly more. The Pistons, though, could not prevent another NBA team from signing Thomas even if he returns to Grand Rapids.
"I hope it's an option he'll look at," Van Gundy said. "Selfishly, we hope so. But I don't know what he's thinking about."
There has been no news on whether Jordan Bachynski will be picked up by the Drive, but it can be expected that veteran journeyman Cartier Martin will not make the move to the D-League. Thomas was Grand Rapids' best player last year, and while his performances in Summer League and pre-season weren't enough to secure a roster position, the Pistons are still keen to keep him close by in case they may need the swingman's services.
The D-League's draft takes place Nov. 1, but there are two names that can be expected to be part of the team's 2016 roster. Other than Thomas, the Pistons have acquired point guard Ryan Boatright and are expected to waive him prior to the deadline in order to make him eligible to play for the Drive. You can expect that whoever ends up filling the roster for the Grand Rapids will have been chosen to match the culture and play style in Detroit, and that, hopefully, both teams will have very successful seasons as a result.
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