Reggie Bullock missed much of the season recovering from surgery, but the New York Knicks would be foolish not to pick up his option.
New York Knicks guard Reggie Bullock underwent a strange 2019-20 campaign, the first of a two-year deal with the blue and orange. He underwent surgery for a cervical disc herniation last July which kept him off the floor until Jan. 1.
And when he was on the court, he wasn’t nearly as effective as he’s been in the past.
From Jan. 1 until the season’s COVID-19-related stoppage, Bullock played in 29 games, averaging 8.1 points, 0.9 steals, 1.4 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in 23.6 minutes. He shot 40.2% from the field, 33.3% from three, 81% from the free-throw line, and had a .484 effective field-goal percentage.
Bullock is used to putting up better numbers across the board, but his performance this past season can definitely be attributed to his injury along with the surgery that required a lengthy recovery period.
The Knicks’ season is over, as they haven’t been invited to the Orlando re-start. This leads to the crucial question: Should New York pick up Bullock’s option ahead of next year?
Well, for one, Bullock is known for being a 3-and-D guard; players like him are highly touted nowadays and it’s important the Knicks recognize his specific value.
He didn’t shoot as well as he normally does this past year, but his numbers should be good enough for the Knicks to retain him. He was also able to stay healthy upon commencing play, which is an additional positive sign.
The fact that the Knicks were able to acquire him at a bargain should also factor into their decision. Bullock was initially supposed to sign a two-year, $21 million deal. However, he failed his physical after a back injury was discovered (for which he had his herniation surgery), bringing the deal down to just $8.2 million.
Not only were the Knicks able to get him for cheap, but Bullock’s surgery also allowed for Marcus Morris to earn more playing time, which increased his trade value (the Knicks dealt Morris to the Los Angeles Clippers at the deadline and received a first-round pick in return).
Bullock’s offense was nothing to write home about, but he used his opportunity to work on his defense, which ended up benefiting the entire squad. The whole team actually allowed fewer points when Bullock was on the floor. His focus on playing hard on the defensive end also sets a good example for his younger teammates, who must learn to place more of an emphasis on that aspect of the game.
Both directly and indirectly, the Knicks have already benefitted from singing the 29-year-old. It’s difficult to give a fair and complete judgment of his play because he didn’t see much time, but criticizing him wouldn’t be right.
All in all, New York would be foolish to waive him. Bullock is a solid player who’ll obviously contribute both offensively and defensively next year, but he can also be a good mentor and locker room presence for his younger teammates.
Additionally, Bullock’s contract is tradable. He’s on a cheap deal, and as we mentioned before, players like him are valuable. Multiple contenders may be interested in him come next year’s deadline, so the Knicks may have a chance to acquire some assets by moving him.
Add the fact that Bullock will be in a contract year next season — which would provide him with some motivation — and it’s fair to say we can expect him to have a solid, positive impact on the Knicks’ 2020-21 campaign.