Thursday, June 27, 2013
Rivers, Clippers get their guy in Bullock
By Arash Markazi
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The last time Doc Rivers was in a Los Angeles Clippers draft war room was in 1998. Back then he was an analyst for TNT and he sat beside Clippers owner Donald Sterling as the team selected Michael Olowokandi with the first overall pick.
Reggie Bullock was one of North Carolina's best 3-point shooters during his time in Chapel Hill, and that's exactly what the Clippers need.
Rivers is hoping his first pick as the coach and senior vice president of the team 15 years later will pan out slightly better than that one did.
The Clippers selected North Carolina guard Reggie Bullock with the 25th pick of the first round of the NBA draft on Thursday. The selection was Rivers' first move with the Clippers after being introduced at a news conference on Wednesday.
Bullock is a long, athletic wing, which was a priority for the Clippers coming into the offseason. Bullock averaged 13.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists last season during his junior season. Bullock's statistics across the board improved in every one of his three seasons at North Carolina.
"We had targeted him and he was one of the guys we wanted," Rivers said. "We felt like we needed more shooting and he does that. I love the fact that he's a big program guy. He's a guy that understands his role. That's what he did at North Carolina."
Rivers actually got to see Bullock in person a couple of times when he went to see his son, Austin, who was a Duke guard, play against North Carolina.
"I've been to two of his games live, which is unusual for an NBA coach to say that," Rivers said. "He has size and can play the small forward position and can shoot it on the catch and can defend. Those are all the things we targeted and we got it."
Bullock was selected second-team All-ACC as a junior, and during his career at North Carolina he made 188 3-pointers, eighth most in school history. The 6-foot-7, 205-pound wingman owns the 11th-highest 3-point percentage (.387) in UNC history and made three or more 3-pointers in 31 of his 100 career games.
His game has often been compared to fellow Tar Heel Danny Green, although he is not as athletic as Green, who congratulated Bullock on Twitter after he was drafted. "Welcome to the west @ReggieBullock35," Green tweeted. "Congrats bro!"
Bullock finished second behind John Wall in the AP Player of the Year voting for the state of North Carolina as a high school junior.
"I just liked the way he carried himself," said Rivers, who got to see Bullock work out in Boston when he was still the Celtics coach. "I like the workout, and he knows what he knows and he knows what he does and never strays away from that. You can tell [North Carolina coach] Roy Williams probably kept beating that into him that you're a shooter, you're a catch-and-shoot player."
Interestingly, the first Clippers player to congratulate Bullock was Chris Paul, who is currently a free agent but is expected to re-sign with the team next month.
"Congrats to @ReggieBullock35 on being drafted," Paul tweeted. "He was on my 1st 15 and Under CP3 All-Stars team. #TeamCP3"
The next big move for Rivers now is making sure the Clippers' first-round draft pick and Paul stay on the same team, but Rivers said L.A. might not make as many moves in the offseason as people think.
"I keep hearing all these rumors about us and trades," Rivers said. "I like this team now. I don't know if we need to do anything. We want to add to the team, we don't want to take away from the team. That's the way I'm looking at it. I saw a team that won 56 games and won 17 games in a row at one point and because they didn't go past the first round you tend to think they're not ready, but it's a young team that needs growth. I don't know if it's a young team that needs change. We're going to look around, but I like the team the way it is and I just think we need to keep adding to it."