On the season, the Los Angeles Lakers have really struggled to finish opportunities that LeBron James sets up offensively. The front office set off to address this concern at the trade deadline by acquiring Reggie Bullock from the Detroit Pistons and, according to James after a crucial victory Thursday night, so far, so good.
“(Bullock)’s a vet. Not only defensively was he in tune with the game plan of trying to put pressure and make it tough on James (Harden), but he when he got his looks he knocked them down,” James told reporters.
“It’s great to have a shooter of his caliber, of his size and of his competitive nature out on the floor. He’s big for us.”
Bullock is shooting 39 percent from three this season. Since he came to L.A., he’s knocked down just under 44 percent of his threes. That’s obviously a small sample size, but those shooting numbers make him the Lakers’ best shooter by a wide margin, especially compared to those who were supposed to be the team’s designated shooters.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is shooting 35 percent from three; Josh Hart, 34 percent; Kyle Kuzma, 32. Heading into this season, those guys were all expected to be better (or at the very least, the team needed them to be).
As they underperformed, the front office had to act, and it’s a good thing they did. The Lakers almost undoubtedly lose Thursday night if not for Bullock’s efforts on both ends.
James mentioning Bullock’s size is a great thing to point out, too. Because of his length, Bullock can also slide down to the small forward spot should the Lakers need that, but also has the quickness to guard shooting guards. This allows him to play alongside just about any wing Luke Walton wants to pair him with, depending on the match-ups on any given night.
Bullock was asked about playing with one such wing after the game, and it sounds like he’s a fan of playing with LeBron so far.
”He’s a great player, obviously. When I’m on the floor, I’m still new to the team, I don’t know exactly where I need to be at,” Bullock said. “He does a great job at telling me where to go, tell me where to be lined up.
”He’s got a bunch of accolades. It’s my job to come here, enjoy the ride, enjoy the moment and just go out and stay with the team and play my game.”
If Bullock plays consistently the way he did against Houston, and shoots the way he has since being traded to the Lakers, his goal of staying with the team could become a priority for the front office this summer, too.