Obviously there has been a lot happening for the Los Angeles Clippers this off-season. As such, I know I for one spent much less time looking at draft prospects than I have in the past. (The fact that the Clippers were picking 25th as opposed to somewhere in the lottery probably had something to do with that as well.) Basically, I didn't know a lot about Reggie Bullock beyond his stat line.
Earlier today, I placed a link in the cover to a scouting report on Bullock written by SB Nation's Tar Heel Blog: I highly recommend that you give it a read, as it was very helpful for me in getting a better handle on the newest Clipper.
The risk for a guy like Bullock in going to a huge program like North Carolina is that he could get overshadowed by the surroundings. Bullock was part of a recruiting class that included Harrison Barnes and Kendal Marshall; he managed only 14 minutes per game as a freshman.
As a sophomore, he was a key component of a UNC team that won 32 games, finished as the regular season ACC champs, and made it to the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament. He began that season as the sixth man, but was moved into the starting lineup midway through the season when Dexter Strickland was injured.
And here's where playing in a huge program like North Carolina can be a major benefit to a guy like Bullock: on that 11-12 UNC team, the other four starters were all first round picks in the 2012 NBA Draft, all in the top 20 in fact. For a mid-major player with Bullock's skill set, he'd have to transition from being the first (and basically only) option in college to being a role player in the NBA. During his sophomore season at UNC, when he was on the floor Bullock was the fourth scoring option playing with some great scorers and a pass-first point guard. On that team, his job was to play tough defense and hit open shots. Sound familiar?
The talent pipeline at UNC keeps flowing, so if you're concerned that Bullock didn't become a "star" this season after Barnes and Marshall and Henson and Zeller headed to the NBA, don't be. The Tar Heels had something of a "big three" this year with Bullock, James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston -- and as of now, McAdoo and Hairston are both projected as first round picks in the 2014 NBA Draft. In short, Bullock has been surrounded by NBA-level talent throughout his stay in Chapel Hill.
Featured more heavily this season, Bullock had something of a break out year, scoring 13.9 points per game, third on the team but only slightly less than team leader Hairston's 14.6. He shot .436 from three point range, and shot almost six of them per game, so we're not talking about a small sample size here. Add in that he has great size for an NBA wing at 6'7 and was UNC's defensive stopper and you begin to see his potential as a 3 and D wing in the Assoc.
I hesitate to use the Danny Green comp myself, so I'll just say that Green is the analog almost everyone uses for Bullock. It's not difficult to see why the comparison is out there. They are about the same size, they both went to UNC, where they played similar roles and improved steadily through relatively long college careers. His last season in Chapel Hill, Green averaged 13.1 points per game, made .418 of his three pointers and posted a true shooting percentage of .592. Last season Bullock averaged 13.9, shooting .436 from deep with a TSP of .625. So yeah, I get it.
Hopefully for the Clippers' sake, Bullock translates to the NBA a little more easily than Green did (Green was waived a couple of times and spent time in the D-League before settling in). The Danny Green type player is exactly what the Clippers were looking for in this draft. Obviously, if Reggie can do for the Clippers anything close to what Green has done for the Spurs, this will have been a very good pick indeed.
The Clippers like Bullock's intangibles as well. He had great coaching in college. They were impressed with his demeanor when they met with him. The team has placed a major emphasis for several years now on adding quality individuals to the team, and Bullock seems like a good fit there. The fact that he's a North Carolina native and played for Chris Paul's AAU team at the age of 15 probably didn't hurt either.