Reggie Bullock was the big signing of the Dallas Mavericks’ 2021 offseason. The fit seemed perfect. A big, 3-and-D wing, Bullock was the exact type of player the Mavericks needed on their roster. He could provide shooting and defense around Luka Doncic, and came on a team-friendly deal. Everyone agreed bring Bullock on board was a great idea.
Well, almost everyone. Jason Kidd seemed to need some convincing. From October through January, Bullock only started 13 games, averaging 23 minutes per game. It’s hard to blame Kidd. During that stretch, Bullock only hit 34% of his 3-pointers. He played good defense, but didn’t contribute much on offense.
But starting in February, Bullock gained Kidd’s trust. He ended up starting 24 games the back half of the season, and saw the court much more, averaging 35 minutes per game. The reason? He started hitting his shots. During those last 24 games, Bullock shot 38% from deep, while becoming an even more indispensable part of the Mavericks’ aggressive defense. With patience and determination, Bullock clawed his way off the bench and into a starting spot, averaging 39 minutes in the playoffs. Kidd could barely get him off the floor at times.
Bullock averaged 8.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game, appearing in 68 games. He started 37 of those. The 6’6”, 205 pound wing shot 36% from deep. With a better understanding of Kidd’s system and an increased role, it’s reasonable to think all those numbers will improve. down from his career average of 38% and 41% from his previous season with the New York Knicks.
Can Bullock remain a consistent shooter throughout the year? His defense stayed steady all season. His shooting, though, went up and down. From October through December, Bullock shot 29% from deep. From January, on though, he hit 39% of his 3-pointers. When you dig deeper, though, his shooting was even more erratic.
Bullock got white hot from behind the arc in January and February, shooting 42% and 45%, respectively. But he cooled off in March, dropping all the way down to 33%, similar to his shooting in the ealry part of the year. If Bullock can just find a consistent shot throughout the year, the Mavericks will win a lot more games.
Best case scenario
Bullock stays healthy and plays suffocating defense and shoots a steady 38% from deep the whole season, giving Luka Doncic an outlet when defenses collapse onto him. His consistency improves the Mavericks’ chances of winning games. In wins last season, Bullock shot 43% on 3-pointers. In losses, he shot a paltry 22%. His ability to hit shots is critical.
Worst case scenario
There’s a timeline where Bullock struggles with his shot all year. If that happens, Bullock will be a significant drag on the offense. Almost 88% of Bullock’s field goals came off of assists. 78% of his field goals were 3-pointers. Bullock doesn’t create off the dribble, and rarely gets to the basket (he had a total of two dunks last season). If he’s not hitting shots, he’s not doing much besides playing defense. Bullock missing shots makes him hard to play, as we saw early last year.
Bullock shot 5.8 3-pointers per game last season. I. Want. More. Bullock should try to get up to seven 3-point attempts per game. It wouldn’t be terrible if he got up to eight. He was at 7.3 attempts per game in the playoffs. It’s doable, and if he’s hitting 38% from deep, it makes life much easier for Doncic, and the Mavericks much more dangerous.
From surprising bench warmer to overused in the playoffs, Bullock competed with Jalen Brunson for biggest turnaround last season. He has a simple role on this team—play outstanding defense and shoot the lights out. History has shown he can do that in long stretches. The question will be whether he can do it over a whole season.