Bullock making case for roster spot
In his short time with the Pistons since his trade from the Suns that also brought Marcus Morris and Danny Granger, Bullock, a 6-foot-7 guard, has been buried in the rotation behind guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks and small forwards Stanley Johnson and Morris.
But during a critical stretch of Tuesday's exhibition against the Indiana Pacers, Bullock found himself among a defensive group that helped the Pistons rally in an eventual 115-112 loss.
Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy has liked Bullock's play during camp, but doing it in game action was an eye-opener. Bullock is competing with Adonis Thomas and Cartier Martin for a roster spot, but may have created some separation.
"He's done everything he can possibly do for us to think about him (making the roster)," Van Gundy said. "He really goes out and defends, plays with high energy, and he stepped up last night and did a good job."
Bullock finished with six points, four assists and three rebounds, mostly in a third-quarter spurt in which the Pistons outscored the Pacers, 39-26.
Van Gundy cobbled "our best defensive unit" together to start the quarter, and Bullock was able to provide some quality minutes in the backcourt, especially with Reggie Jackson ailing and Spencer Dinwiddie in foul trouble.
"In practice, coach wanted me to be all over the floor," Bullock said. "He knows what I can do on the defensive end, so I try to do that in practice and try to transfer that over in the game. It's great that the coach has confidence in me to put me out there with his best five on the defensive end.
"It was all us together, not just me."
Bullock has averaged 9.3 minutes, 2.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in two seasons, but is looking to find a niche with the Pistons.
Despite being on the proverbial bubble, Bullock isn't tempted to try to do too much or put up extra shots to try to make a positive impression on Van Gundy or his teammates about how much he can add.
"I know what my strengths are — shooting and on defensive end," he said. "My teammates know I can shoot the ball, so I'm going to take my shots when I'm open. If I don't have a good shot that I should take, I'll swing the ball."
The Pistons had 19 turnovers and were short on point guards — even having to shift Johnson to run the offense — Tuesday.
Jackson, limited because of Achilles soreness, could return tonight against the Nets.
"Reggie practiced today; we didn't go much full court, but he did practice the whole thing, so that was good," Van Gundy said. "We have to see how he feels in the morning after going through (shoot-around). There's a possibility he can play."
Reserve center Aron Baynes, who has been limited by an ankle injury, participated in most of Wednesday's practice, but still isn't ready to play.
"I don't anticipate Aron (playing tonight)," Van Gundy said. "I want to get him through a practice where he doesn't have to pull himself out first."
... Adonis Thomas has a little more complicated situation. Van Gundy said an MRI revealed Thomas has a small tear in his Achilles.
Nets at Pistons
Tip-off: 7:30 Thursday, The Palace, Auburn Hills
Outlook: Rookie Stanley Johnson looks to build on his impressive debut (26 points), and Andre Drummond added 16 points and nine rebounds.