Ahead of his debut for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Reggie Bullock spoke to reporters for the first time since being traded from Detroit to L.A. on Tuesday and it sounds like he’s eager to suit up in the purple and gold.
After practice on Saturday, Bullock revealed that he was a huge Lakers fan growing up in Kinston, North Carolina.
“Kobe, when he first got there, I’ve just been a Lakers fan ever since,” Bullock said (via Lakers.com).
Bullock was just five years old when Bryant made his Lakers debut, but he had the opportunity to play against Bryant four times before he retired in 2016.
Also growing up in Kinston during that time was Brandon Ingram, who Bullock will reunite with on the Lakers.
“I definitely knew him when he was growing up,” Bullock said. “I mean, his dad used to open the gym for me every time and Brandon was there.
“Obviously I’m four years, five years older than him and when a lot the guys in our neighborhood would play basketball, they was a lot older than him but he would still be in the gym with us, down there competing and everything. Just seeing him grow into the player (he is) today is truly a story to be able to witness, a player like him from Kinston to be able make it,” Bullock continued. “Seeing him go through the whole process, I think that was great to watch.”
Ironically, Bullock will be coming to the Lakers to do the one thing Ingram hasn’t been able to do is in young career: shoot the 3-ball.
The 27-year-old wing is a career 39.8 percent 3-point shooter, and is shooting 38.8 percent from behind the arc this season on a career-high 6.7 attempts per game. Bullock is one of 11 players in the league shooting above 38 percent from behind the 3-point line on more than eight attempts per game.
He’s also converting 40 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3-pointers this season, which is the highest rate on the team. Lance Stephenson is second at 37.9 percent, but on nearly four fewer attempts per game.
His ability to knock down the 3-ball at an efficient clip is what makes him such an intriguing fit next to LeBron James, arguably the most gifted playmaker in the NBA, and Bullock said that playing with Blake Griffin in Detroit prepared for playing with another high-IQ superstar in James.
“It’s all going to adjustment, but playing with Blake, he’s definitely a floor-spacer,” Bullock said. “He get the ball on the block, people got to double him down there so I’m the player he find, or shooters around him, to be able to knock down shots.
“With ‘Bron, he can see me down there, from way down there, to be able to throw a full-court pass and put it right on the money for me to able to get a shot, so he’s just finding me all over the floor. Playing with Blake, Blake demanded double teams on him on the block so it was easy for me to just be in open space but pin downs, everything like that, ‘Bron will be able to get me the ball.”
Lakers head coach Luke Walton said that both Bullock and Mike Muscala will see some playing time against the star-studded Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. Bullock will probably see the floor a little more than Muscala, in part because he fills a bigger need and because Josh Hart has yet to fully recover from his patellar tendonitis. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday.
Bullock’s arrival came at the expense of a fan favorite in Svi Mykhailiuk and a future second-round pick, but he gives the Lakers the best opportunity to win now. Hopefully he can show he’s worth what they gave up for him in his debut.