Leading up to the NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers had one goal in mind: add shooting. Okay, maybe that wasn’t their only goal, but it was a pretty big one, and they accomplished that by adding veteran sharpshooter Reggie Bullock.
A career 40 percent 3-point shooter, Bullock was expected to come in and immediately be a threat from behind the arc for the Lakers, who are ranked 28th in the league in 3-point percentage. So far, he’s done just that.
Since the All-Star break, the 27-year-old guard is averaging 12.8 points per game on 48 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line while posting a box plus-minus of +4.8, which is the highest on the team within that span. Suffice to say, he’s not having a bad start to his career in a Lakers uniform so far.
Following the Lakers’ win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, where he contributed 14 points, Bullock explained why he feels he’s been so successful during his brief time in Los Angeles.
“It’s probably just staying in space, which I do pretty well,” Bullock said. “My teammates believe in me to shoot it and I have to continue to keep shooting it and also believing in myself, also.
“It was easy for me pretty much to just come in because I knew what my role would be right away, which was shooting the ball and playing on the other end, playing on defense. It’s working out so far.”
Bullock isn’t known for being a great defender ,and that reputation has followed him to L.A., but he’s managed to be good enough to where he isn’t a liability on that end. It’s for that reason he’s not just a net positive for the Lakers, but he’s been their best player in terms of net rating since the All-Star break.
However, Bullock was quick to give his teammates credit for his early success, specifically Rajon Rondo, who he said has made things easy on him since his arrival.
“He’s been pretty much telling me that since day one. He’s been telling me to run the floor with him and he’s going to find me shots. So with him pushing the pace in transition... and even talking to me in practice about where I would get the shot at, I happened to get it tonight and it went down,” Bullock said after Rondo set him up for a huge bucket against the New Orleans Pelicans.
It’s unclear if Lakers head coach Luke Walton intends on keeping Bullock in the starting lineup once Lonzo Ball eventually (?) makes his return this season, but it’s clear he brings an invaluable dynamic to this team. Whether it’s at the expense of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson or Josh Hart, who hasn’t looked like himself for quite some time, Bullock needs to be on the floor as much as possible.