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2016 Detroit Pistons Preview: Reggie Bullock found a home, now it is time to build a role

After an up and down 2015-2016 season, Reggie Bullock looks to carve a consistent role in the Pistons rotation in his second year with the team.

Art by Christopher Daniels

As a throw-in during the Marcus Morris robbery of the Phoenix Suns pulled off by Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Bower, Reggie Bullock did not come in with any expectations.

The Pistons were his third team in as many years, and he never quite showed the sharpshooting he displayed in college at North Carolina. He was expected to compete for one of the last spots on the Pistons roster with Adonis Thomas.

I was always intrigued with Reggie Bullock as a player, and was quite happy to have gotten him along with Marcus Morris. However, I was expecting him to be a bit of a long shot to make the roster. A guy averaging 2.3 ppg and shooting 31 percent from 3 through two seasons isn't really the kind of player that you get excited about as a fan.

I watched him a few times at North Carolina and knew he had a reputation as a sharpshooter. I felt like he was not given a fair chance with his previous two teams, the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns, to get into a grove. I still tempered my expectations because maybe he was just one of those players who simply does not have what it takes to translate his shooting in college to the NBA.

2015-2016 Season Review

To say that Reggie Bullock was hot during the preseason would be a severe understatement. He shot 52 percent from three on 4.2 attempts per game en route to averaging 10.7 points per game. He brought some solid defensive intensity to go along with a penchant for moving the ball. He averaged 1.8 assists per game, but he was a guy who didn't hold the ball long if he didn't have a shot.

The guy who came in with a chance at claiming a spot on the end of the bench looked like he might have a spot in the playing rotation. An injury to Adonis Thomas guaranteed Bullock would make the roster. With the way Bullock played, there was not much Thomas could have done to beat him out anyways.

Reggie Bullock's hot shooting decided to stay in the preseason once the regular season started.

Reggie Bullock would proceed to shoot 10 percent from three before the All Star break, and his spot in the rotation was all but gone. It looked like we were getting the Reggie Bullock who could not stick with a team because of underwhelming results throughout his career. The Reggie Bullock we saw in the preseason was just an anomaly, a small blip in the radar of a disappointing career.

Something changed during the All Star break for Mr. Bullock. Injuries to Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver would force Stan Van Gundy's hand into putting Reggie Bullock back in the rotation, and boy did he capitalize.

With the Pistons in the thick of the playoff race with an already underwhelming bench gutted of two key players, the Reggie Bullock we saw in the preseason decided to join the team for the regular season.

Bullock shot 54 percent from three in 5 games in February. He would carry that over to the 10 games in March where he would shoot a slightly cooler 47 percent from 3. By April, with Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver back, Bullock was averaging 20 minutes per game and sill shooting 46 percent from 3.

Reggie Bullock kept the bench afloat during the absence of Johnson and Tolliver. It looked like it would be doom when those two went down because the Pistons simply did not have anybody to help an already poor bench. Bullock's re-emergence off the bench played a role in ending the playoff drought that had plagued this team for 6 years.

There is nothing more descriptive of Reggie Bullock's season than his Pre/Post All-Star splits. They are absolutely staggering:

Pre All-Star: .3 ppg on 5 percent shooting and 10 percent from three in 18 games

Post All-Star:  6.1 ppg  on 53 percent shooting and 49 percent from three in 19 games.

Projected Role

Trying to project a role for Reggie Bullock is tough. While he is listed as a SF, he can also play some SG, which is necessary due to the presence of Stanley Johnson and Marcus Morris at the SF position. However, Stan Van Gundy has mentioned many times that he prefers a 9-man rotation.Stanley Johnson is able to play both the 2 and the 3, which doesn't leave much room for Reggie Bullock with Aron Baynes, Ish Smith, and Jon Leuer all expected to play large roles off the bench. There is also Darrun Hilliard at the SG position.

Despite all of this, I can see Stan Van Gundy finding a way to get Reggie Bullock on the court. You simply cannot leave solid 3 and D players sitting on your bench, especially on a team that is a bit challenged at shooting the three ball.

There is always the risk that Reggie Bullock regresses back to the shell of the player we saw during first half of the season and not being worth any minutes. However, I think he showed enough to warrant a larger role on this team going forward.

Projected Production

13 mpg, 5.5 ppg, 3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 47% shooting and 39% from three, 90% FT