Ending up the dog days of summer, DBB is rolling out a series of players that our writers are optimistic about this coming season - even perhaps irrationally optimistic.
It’s thought experiment time. You’ve jumped in a time machine and have gone back one year.
Now please bust out your rationality hat and slap that bad boy on. If you were asked to guess which player on the 2017-18 roster was about to go on to average 11+ points per game, while shooting 45 percent from three on 4.5 attempts per game, and 49 percent from the field, all on a ridiculously low usage percentage of 15.5 percent, who would you have selected?
You might have thought that player to be the Pistons marquee free agent signing, Langston Galloway - who was specifically signed for his ability to hit the long ball. That would have been an extremely reasonable prediction!
Perhaps you consider yourself a rational optimist, and thought Luke Kennard, billed as the best shooter in last year’s draft, was going to come out the gates swinging, finding a similar rhythm to his days at Duke. Again, reasonable!
Hell, you might have even forgot that Jon Leuer appeared frightened when beyond the arc when the 2016-17 season concluded, and solely remembered the Jon Leuer of October to December 2016. Not the best guess, but due to your selective amnesia, acceptable!
A betting man would wager a sizable amount of cash that you would not have selected Reggie Bullock. A guy who’s best season on record was back in 2015-16, where he averaged 3.3 points, on 44 percent from the field, 42 percent from three, having only played in 37 games.
Due to injury and inconsistent play Bullock was never able to establish a rhythm early in his career, and by 2017 he was hanging onto his NBA life. Those days, my Kool-Aid drinking friends, are long gone.
Back Up the Brinks Truck
Bullock now has a (near) full season under his belt (the first of his career), and has established himself as one of the best three point shooters in the league. There are millions of reasons to believe that last season was no flash in the pan, seeing how he’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.
Some of the notable “3 and D” signings from last season include -
Trevor Ariza - one year $15,000,000
JJ Reddick - one year - $12,250,000
Kentavious Caldwell Pope - one year - $12,000,000
*cough* Avery Bradley *cough* - two years - $24,960,000
Bullock was a better three point shooter than every player on this list. He’s younger than Reddick, Ariza, and Bradley, and only one year older than KCP, with significantly less games under his belt than all of these guys. He was also an under appreciated wing defender, but can stick with every two in the game, and has an ability to defend small ball threes.
Bullock will, if he continues to play at this level or take the next step, finally net the pay-day that high level 3 and D players get on today’s market; perhaps a bigger pay day than every player on this list. And seeing how Bullock has netted roughly 11 million dollars (including his 2018-19 salary) in total, his next contract could easily triple what he’s made in his entire career.
The Coach Casey Effect
Not only are there financial incentives for him to improve (and for you to purchase all of the Bullock stock that you can get your hands on), but his new coach’s vision should inherently bring out the best in a player with Bullock’s skill-set.
Dwane Casey said it himself, during his introductory press conference, “We have to get up more threes. We have to play more of an analytical game... that was the main topic we had last week with the players is making sure we understand the shot spectrum, the efficiency of shots that we want to take and how we want to play.” Casey practices what he preaches; last season, his Raptors finished third in the NBA in three point attempts per game, having hoisted up 33 attempts per game. The Pistons on the other hand, finished 16th with 28.9 3PA last year.
Dwane Casey wants to shoot more threes. Reggie Bullock is one of the best three point shooters in the league. Reminder- Reggie Bullock shot 45 percent from three on 4.5 attempts last season!
Dwane Casey wants efficient shots. Reggie Bullock was the most efficient player on the team last season. Not only was he a flamethrower from deep, he was also one of Detroit’s best players when cutting to the hoop, finishing in the 69th percentile, at 11.2 percent frequency.
That’s the beautiful part about his game, he barely needs to put the ball on the floor in order to get an efficient shot up.
One serving of Dwane Casey, add one serving of Reggie Bullock, and that looks like a recipe for success.
Griffin - Bullock Two Man Game
The final reason why you should sit back and pour another glass, is due to the Blake Griffin- Reggie Bullock two man game. These two were starting to look lethal by year’s end, and should be able to find that rhythm early and often next season.
By far, Blake Griffin’s favorite receiver was Bullock last year, and seeing how Griffin is quite possibly Detroit’s best passer, you should expect to regularly see this connection this season. In fact, Blake Griffin assisted a Bullock bucket 55 times in only 24 games during the 2017-18 season. Lou Williams finished second, totaling 30.
Below you’ll find a supercut of some of their magic on display.
And while the Griffin/Bullock connection wasn’t the most publicized combo for the Pistons, it should be one of Detroit’s most potent offensive options. These two have a knack playing alongside each other; that natural rhythm coupled with a full season of playing alongside each other, should work wonders for Detroit’s (hopefully) once-sputtering offense.
Detroit Bad Boys nation, why are you excited for Reggie Bullock’s 2018-19 season?