With RJ Barrett on the sidelines, the Knicks turn towards Reggie Bullock to take his place. Will the veteran be able to fill the rookie’s shoes?
In the New York Knicks’ first game without the Maple Mamba, Head Coach Mike Miller would turn to Reggie Bullock to take his place in the starting line-up. Bullock would go on to play a season-high 34 minutes in the 90-87 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Bullock, who missed the first 33 games of the season while recovering from spinal surgery, would not disappoint in the extended role. In his first attempt to replace the production lost by Barrett, Bullock would score 14 points to go along with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals.
Bullock presents a very different style of play than Barrett. In the nine games, Bullock has been available for he has attempted only five free throws, in that same span Barrett made it to the charity stripe 50 times. The rookie looks to drive to the basket, while the vet prefers to shoot. Only two of Bullock’s 13 shot attempts came on layups, including getting blocked on his first attempt.
While Bullock continues to shake off some rust, look for his shot to fall more. So far this season the former UNC Tar Heel is only converting on 31.8% of his threes, but history shows that will rise. In the last four seasons, Bullock has never shot worse than 37% from deep with his best season coming in 2017. With the Detroit Pistons Bullock shot a career-high 44% from deep and 48% from the field.
Bullock’s defense is also a nice addition to the Knicks starting lineup. His hustle and intensity on defense paired with his ability to defend both guards and forwards, Bullock is able to make everyone around him better.
RJ Barrett will be sidelined for at least the next week, potentially more with his sprained ankle. While Reggie Bullock may not have the same play style as the rookie, he will be able to fill his shoes until he returns.