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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Scouting Report: Reggie Bullock

Height: 6'5.5''
Wingspan: 6'8.5''
Weight: 190lbs
Bday: 3/16/91

Team: North Carolina
Class of 2014

Being the fifth starter of a North Carolina lineup (after Strickland went down) that saw the other 4 members all get drafted in the first round, Bullock was a lot of the times the forgotten man, but he didn't seem to mind. He proved to be a good role player, complimenting star Harrison Barnes on the wing by providing defense and outside shooting. He beat out incoming McDonald's All-American PJ Hairston for the minutes not because he was a better scorer - he is not - but because of everything else he does.

Bullock's offense last year was very simple. 5 of his 7.6 shot attempts per game were 3-pt shots. It is safe to say that at least one other shot attempt a game came in transition thanks to Kendall Marshall and the Tar Heels uptempo offense. So that leaves Bullock with maybe one shot he created per game. And thats generous because Marshall could have created some of those looks too. Plus he averaged nearly 2 offensive rebounds per game so there was a chance for putbacks.

Oh look, its Reggie Bullock shooting a 3

This doesn't mean Bullock was completely worthless on offense. Not at all. Bullock isn't a good creator or ball handler, but he didn't have to be on this team so he focused on the little things. He would set screens, crash the boards, occupy the foul line area, and keep the floor spread with the threat of his jumper. Bullock struggles to string together multiple dribbles in line to the rim, but he had a tendency to take two dribbles and stop. This doesn't sound good, but he found a surprising amount of cutters doing this, showing off a nice passing ability. It seemed every time he did this he would set up a teammate with a nice feed. Now his assist numbers weren't impressive (only 2 per 40 minutes pace adjusted), but that isn't because he isn't a smart and good passer. Thats due to the fact that he struggles to create and he also rarely passes while dribbling. He always has to gather himself, partly because he can dribble with his head down. When he is looking up though, he does a great job of seeing the floor.

Bullock will never be a great dribbler, its too much to ask at this point, but he can become good enough to take advantage of his court vision and basketball IQ. Also, he showed a solid mid-range game and floater in high school and I would expect him to start showing these skills more next year. Last year he showed a very small sample of these moves, and also a pull up jumper that looked as efficient as his spot up jumper. He can go a few dribbles to his right and pull up without a problem, but don't expect him to go into isolation mode to create room for a shot.

This stuff isn't necessarily a death sentence in the NBA. Not everyone needs to be a shot creator. Bullock   does create many second chance opportunities just by rebounding the ball and hustling for loose balls. He has already shown he knows how to be a secondary type player and he showed the willingness to do it. Bullock has good intangibles and solid character. He's a guy who likes to laugh and joke around, although he may innocently slip up from time to time like when he said Coach K looks like a rat.

Reggie fit in quite well with his teammates and enjoyed every minute of it

His shooting is something Bullock will have to continue to show consistency with. His freshman year, he shot under 30% from 3 and 13-23 from the line. However, nobody was surprised when Bullock shot 38% from 3 last year with more attempts, and upped his free throw shooting to 72%. Bullock is more of the 38% shooter for sure and he has deep range and nice form on his shot as well. His free throws are bad, but he hardly gets to the line to begin with. That could be why he has never been a good foul shooter as last year he went to the line 0.8 times per game! That was by far the worst mark among rotational wings in college basketball (20+ minutes a game). Even Deividas Dulkys more than doubled that rate.

His lack of ball handling skills really pigeon hole him into the small forward spot - he is not a shooting guard by any stretch of the imagination. On defense though, Bullock has been asked to guard virtually every position except center and has done so successfully. He has a nice frame and a 6'8.5'' wingspan, but his tenacity and effort is what really sets him apart. He pressures the ball and takes away 3-pt chances and has good, but not elite lateral quickness. Bullock isn't going to be a lockdown defender, but he is a very good defender in college basketball and that should carry over to the next level. He also rebounds the ball well and plays good help defense.

Overall, Bullock is what he is. I think a lot of people are expecting that Bullock will take a big leap this year and become more of a scorer. His points are obviously going to go up, but it will be PJ Hairston who becomes the go-to scorer on the wing - not Bullock. Hairston is a lot more of a natural shot creator while Bullock can help out, while still concentrating on doing the little things. If you have high expectations for Bullock this year, you may end up disappointed, resulting in you downing him as a prospect. But if you accept what he is and focus on what he does well, you will see why he can be a nice role player in the NBA. Bullock doesn't have star potential and may not even be a sure fire first rounder, but as a basketball player, he is someone that you wouldn't mind having in your rotation.

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