Knicks Urged to Reunite With Defensive Specialist

Getty Reggie Bullock #25 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball against Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns.

The New York Knicks have a 9-9 record and just came off a five-game road trip where they won three out of the five games.

Placed as the ninth seed in a close-knit Eastern Conference, the team has had its way on the offensive end of the floor. The Knicks are currently ranked 14th in points per game with an average of 113.3 and sixth in free throws made at 19.8.

Those offensive numbers contribute to factors such as Jalen Brunson’s impact at point guard. Brunson is currently averaging 20.8 points on efficient percentages, shooting close to 50 percent from the field, and is averaging nearly five free throws per contest.

Julius Randle has also been impactful on offense this season with better shooting percentages, shooting 46 percent from the field, averaging the most free throw attempts on the team at 6.3, and shooting 76 percent from the charity stripe.

The team ranks 23rd in defensive rating and allows opposing teams to score 115.5 points per game which is ranked as the seventh worst in the league and tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the most 3-pointers made by an opposing team at 14.1 per game.

The defensive struggles consist of defenders leaving shooters wide open for perimeter shots and not applying enough pressure on offensive threats. The team gave up 145 points to the Oklahoma City Thunder in regulation on Nov. 13.

The Knicks need defensive-minded players and may look at the market to potentially trade for that kind of player. Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report believes Reggie Bullock is a player the Knicks should put on their radar.

What Bullock Would Bring

Bullock is in his second season with the Dallas Mavericks. He signed a three-year, $30.5 million contract with the team as a free agent during the 2021 offseason.

In the playoffs last season, the 10th-year veteran played a key role in the Mavericks’ run to the Western Conference Finals, averaging 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting close to 40 percent from three-point range. Swartz believes Bullock can give the Knicks what they need the most, a defensive specialist.

Going from Fournier to Bullock is a big defensive upgrade for the Knicks,” Swartz said. “However, a needed swap for a team that ranks just 23rd overall on that end of the court.”

This season has been a struggle for Bullock when it comes to shooting the basketball. Bullock is shooting 29 percent from the field and 31 percent from three-point range while averaging only 5.1 points in 29 minutes. Though the season is still early, Bullock will need to improve his shooting numbers, as that is one of his strengths.

If the Knicks were to make a move for Bullock, that would bring more depth at the wing position and veteran leadership. Cam Reddish and Quentin Grimes have each started games for the Knicks but haven’t been consistent due to injuries. Bullock can bring defensive energy and an edge that has helped teams he’s played on in the past, including the Knicks.

Bullock’s Time in New York

The blue and orange uniforms wouldn’t be new to Bullock as he spent two seasons with the Knicks, signing with the team during free agency in 2019.

Bullock also played a key role for the Knicks during the 2020-2021 season when he would help play a part in the Knicks being the fourth seed, and averaged 10.9 points and made 163 3-pointers that season.

Tom Thibodeau praised Bullock for his defensive intensity and willingness to guard the opposing team’s best wing player during Bullock’s lone season coached by Thibodeau. The Knicks would have an advantage if they traded for Bullock, as he knows Thibodeau’s system.

In his 94 games played with the Knicks in two seasons, Bullock averaged 9.5 points and shot 37 percent from three-point range.

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