This offseason, the Dallas Mavericks were aiming for Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, and even for a moment Kawhi Leonard. Instead, they came away with Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown.
It wasn’t the free-agent haul that many wanted, but both Brown and Bullock offer the Mavericks a level of versatility that the team lacked for long stretches last season.
Bullock and Brown won’t fill front-page headlines or spark a First Take debate segment, but there are elements to their games that make the Mavericks better offensively than they have been as of late.
Bullock is no slouch:
As a 3-point marksman, Bullock stands true. In the 2020-21 season, he shot 41 percent from behind the arc on 6.1 attempts per game. He did this as the New York Knicks’ only real knock-down perimeter threat.
Opposing teams knew he was the one going to shoot the ball, and that didn’t inhibit him from scoring from behind the arc with near-elite efficiency. If Bullock could find open looks with Julius Randle as the best creator in the Knicks’ offense, imagine the number of open looks Luka Dončić’s presence on the floor will bring to the former Knick.
Moreover, in Dallas’ offense, he won’t be the only shooter on the floor. Between Dončić, Kristaps Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas boast a lineup that can shoot at nearly every position. All Bullock needs to do is build chemistry and fit in with the rhythm of the offense.
Another element working in Bullock’s favor is head coach Jason Kidd’s plan to establish an up-tempo offense. Last season the Knicks ranked 30th in the NBA in tempo (95.9). With a coach like Tom Thibodeau, defense comes first, and running in transition comes last. With Kidd, defense is still going to come first, but he also wants defensive possessions to end in easy offensive opportunities. Meaning, Bullock will get his fair share of wide-open transition threes.
As a 3-point specialist, coming to this version of the Dallas Mavericks offers high minimum yields and a low risk for failure. It just comes down to Bullock making his shots because the open looks are going to be there.
Brown can do the little things:
Depth is what wins championships, and bringing in Brown was Dallas taking a step towards building championship-level depth.
On a putrid Houston Rockets team last season, Brown enjoyed a quiet breakout campaign. He averaged eight points per game and shot 42 percent from behind the 3-point line.
Supplementing a solid season shooting the ball was his defense where on a year he could have mailed it in, he gave consistent effort to the nightly assignment. By no means does he become an elite 3-and-D stopper this season, but off the bench, he continues the trend of versatility the Mavericks have embraced since bringing in Nico Harrison and Kidd.
Coaches need options. The Mavericks spent free agency bolstering those options for the new head coach. With Bullock and Brown, the team has added depth, shooting and defense. Now, it’s up to Kidd to figure out how to use it efficiently.
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