The NBA Draft is Thursday, and the only Tar Heel that should be selected is Reggie Bullock. The 6-7 Junior declared himself eligible for the draft this Spring, and he should be a late first round pick. Here is a basic scouting report for Reggie Bullock.
Bullock at the very least is a talented three point shooter. Bullock made over 43% of his threes in his final season at UNC, a team high. A comparable for that high of a three point percentage in the NBA this season was Shane Battier, with a .430 3 point percentage, good for 6th in the league in the regular season. Bullock did tend to prefer the open looks on the wings, similar to Battier. In the UNC Duke game on February 23rd, Bullock attempted 5 threes from the left wing, making two. In the NBA, a point of emphasis is put on the corner three, and college draftees must be able to hit that shot consistently if they want to stick in the league. Bullock has shown he can hit that shot, like in the NCAA tournament game against Villanova, where Bullock went two for four from the corners. If Bullock continues to make threes like he did in college, there will always be a team that wants him in their uniform.
Another plus for Bullock would be his ability to defend well at the SG and SF positions. He averaged 1.3 steals in his final season in Chapel Hill, illustrating his ability to hawk the ball on defense, a valuable skill in the NBA. Standing at 6’7″ with a 6’10” wingspan, Bullock should have no trouble keeping up with NBA opponents on the defensive end. There is an adjustment period for learning NBA rotations and schemes, but Bullock should be fine. Some questioned his motor on defense at UNC, but coaches know he has the measurables and ability to be an above average defender.
One major knock on Bullock is lack of the ability to create off the dribble and explosiveness. While sometimes PJ Hairston or JP Tokoto would seemingly explode off the dribble into the lane for a dunk, Bullock tended to be more of a jump-shooter. If he did get points in the paint, it was either off fast breaks or very easy lay ups. This needs to be improved as NBA defenses will learn to close out hard on Bullock at the three point line, forcing his dribble driving skills or his passing skills (solid, 3 assists per game last season) to produce.
Similar to the last weakness, Bullock does not seem to have a “killer instinct” on offense or defense. This trait has many nicknames, like motor, or “winners mentality,” but whatever you want to call it, Bullock could use some more of it. He is still a young player, but if he is thrust into the playoff spotlight playing on a late first round team, he is going to need that instinct to survive and hopefully thrive.
As for where Bullock could fall in this year’s NBA Draft, it is tough to tell exactly. Bullock has risen over the past few months with strong performances with the Heels and in workouts. Probably the highest Bullock could go would be at 17 and 18 with Atlanta’s twin picks, but he shouldn’t fall out of the first round with teams like the Thunder and Spurs, who have a knack for developing young role players, picking at the end of the first round. Nearly every team could use the D and 3s that Bullock provides, but some teams especially to look out for on Thursday to draft Bullock are the Pacers, who need a bench winger if Danny Granger is unable to stay healthy, the Nuggets, who love stockpiling young wingers and athletic guys, and the Spurs, who embrace the corner three and also have a skill at developing players similar to Bullock, like Danny Green.
Overall, Reggie Bullock is a talented basketball player who is ready for the NBA even after leaving UNC a year early. Look for Bullock to solidify himself as a rotation guy in the league because of his excellent three point shooting talents and defensive abilities.