2017-2018 Season Preview: Reggie Bullock
The next player in the Detroit Pistons player preview series is one who should look familiar to Motor City fans. Reggie Bullock signed a 2-year $5 million contract with Detroit in the middle of July, an under the radar move for a team attempting to fill out its roster. Bullock has had an up and down tenure in his two years with the Pistons, but hopefully, he will be able to put together solid play and make a case for regular rotation minutes.
Bullock averaged 15.1 minutes per game last season, a career high, and an increase from 11.6 minutes in the previous season. The caveat is that it came in a mere 31 games, with five of those being starts. Injuries to his back, knee, and foot all sapped him of playing time this past season. In his two seasons in Detroit combined, he has played less than a full season. Starting off the upcoming season with a clean slate would obviously be best for the former North Carolina Tar Heel, but even that is not so simple. Bullock is suspended for the first five games of the season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. That means he will be available October 28th against his former team, the Los Angeles Clippers.
Last season, Bullock averaged a pedestrian 4.5 points per game on 42.2 percent from the floor and 38.4 percent from behind the three-point line. Yeah, Bullock only took just over two treys per game, but that represents a career high. He also attempted a career-high 4.1 field goals per game and made a career-best 1.7 shots. This is obviously a very small sample size and more looks would help paint a better picture. But the Pistons need to be a better shooting team this season if they want to make a run to the playoffs and Bullock may be able to help if given playing time. His path to playing will still be murky though.
The Pistons have quality players on the roster at every position except for small forward. Tobias Harris is criminally underrated and should take the bulk of the minutes there, but he was much more effective last season coming off the bench. Touted young piece Stanley Johnson is a wild-card this season after he was largely ineffective all of last season. He could come in and snag the starting job and not look back or come along slowly. If the latter plays out, that could give Bullock a small window to climb through and scoop up minutes.
I will go ahead and say it: I think Reggie Bullock, if healthy, could be a sleeper player for the Detroit Pistons. If given the opportunity and, if he avoids injury, he has the tools at 6’7″ to be a solid “three-and D” wing that nearly every team in the NBA covets. It will be an uphill battle to find playing time, but small forward is relatively weak enough that he can carve out a role. Here is hoping he can answer the door if an opportunity comes knocking.
Featured image: Carlos Osorio/Associated Press