DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks did not come away with a star player acquisition this offseason, but did manage to add a helpful piece to pair with Luka Doncic by signing Reggie Bullock.
Bullock is coming off a strong 2020-21 season with the New York Knicks, having posted averages of 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. His production landed him a three-year, $30.5 million contract from the Mavericks in free agency.
“I want to thank the Mavericks organization for bringing me on board to be a part of something very special,” said Bullock, who also cleared up any questions about how to pronounce his surname. (See below.) “Me and my family are definitely excited to be down here and I’m definitely ready to get to work.”
The Mavericks had hopes that Josh Richardson would fill a needed 3-and-D role alongside Doncic when the team acquired him via trade from the Philadelphia 76ers during the night of the 2020 NBA Draft. The deal proved to be a significant failure, given that Seth Curry was moved and was such a success with the Sixers.
Richardson's impact fell far short of the bar needed from the Mavericks. He shot just 33 percent from the perimeter during the regular season and managed to earn just 13.4 minutes per game in the playoffs.
It became apparent that Richardson was not a clean fit for the Mavericks. Dallas opted to move on, using a trade with the Boston Celtics after he exercised his $11.6 million final-year player-option.
Bullock will be leaned upon to fill the role that Richardson failed to succeed in doing.
There are plenty of areas that go beyond the box score where Bullock has carved out his niche as an NBA player. While his sharpshooting from beyond the arc catches the most attention, he was routinely tasked with guarding the opposing team's top perimeter talent during his time with the Knicks.
"When it comes to shooting the ball, that's one thing that I pride myself on, and obviously guarding the other team's best player, or guarding whoever when I'm in," Bullock said. "I'm just ready to be out there and competing with my teammates.
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When making his free agency decision, Bullock called signing with the Mavericks a 'no-brainer' and cited the fit for his skillset with the team. He feels as though Dallas is primed to take a step forward.
"When I played against the Mavericks last year, I liked the way that they competed as a team," Bullock said. "They got great players, so it was an easy, no-brainer for me. Being with the Knicks last year, we made it to the playoffs but I see [the Mavericks] as a team that's taking that next step to be in the postseason.
"I felt like that the skillset that I have was easy for me to be able to make this move to be able to come down and be around a great organization, a great city, and great fans and just bring my game here."
Players who can knock down catch-and-shoot jumpers at a high clip will be maximized by performing alongside an elite orchestrator like Luka Doncic. Bullock fits this mold and is one of the most efficient threats specifically from the corners.
The on-ball defensive impact that Bullock brings to the table is another pivotal element to his fit with the Mavericks. Richardson was supposed to be this kind of player for Dallas but his shooting was too poor to consider keeping him on the floor in the playoffs.
There is no such thing as an NBA team having too many proficient 3-and-D players and that holds extra weight for a team like the Mavericks, which relies heavily on high pick-and-roll sequences. Bullock will make a needed impact as a result.
Regardless, the fact still remains that Dallas lacks a secondary ball-handler to alleviate the physical toll it takes on Doncic to shoulder such a heavy load in the playoffs as the Mavericks' lead initiator on offense.
There is still focus placed on Goran Dragic as a potential option for the Mavericks to fill the secondary ball-handler void. While he remains a member of the Toronto Raptors, there is a genuine question in regard to how long that will be the case.
Above all else, there is still a question surrounding Kristaps Porzingis' ability to get back to his previous form after having a full offseason to work in the weight room and on the court.
Doncic put pen to paper on his five-year, $207 million supermax extension as part of a hoped-for step forward. Porzingis needs to step, too. And the addition of Bullock will surely help the Mavericks in what is hoped is a "no-brainer'' way.