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Dallas Mavericks: 3 players who need to step up on defense

Dallas Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith
Dallas Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Reggie Bullock
Dallas Mavericks, Reggie Bullock / POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks who need to step up on defense: 3. Reggie Bullock

The Mavs used their full mid-level exception to sign Bullock to a three-year deal worth $30 million after the 6’6 wing was a starter and key contributor for the Knicks last season. After the deal was announced, fans and pundits immediately locked on to the 30-year-old’s shooting ability, including his 39.2 career 3-point percentage, but that overlooks his defense.

Bullock has the size and length to guard multiple positions. According to NBA Stats, the five players he spent the most time matched up on during last season were Brandon Ingram, Ben Simmons, Paul George, DeMar DeRozan, and Terry Rozier. Flip over to the playoffs and Bullock by far spent the most time guarding Trey Young. He is no stranger to taking on a difficult matchup and thriving.

Bullock ranked seventh-best in the league in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus last season. His play on that side of the ball is often overlooked because defense can be difficult to quantify.

The Maverick's lack of defensive wing options was on full display in their first-round playoff series against the LA Clippers. They resorted to putting Boban Marjanovic into the frontcourt next to Kristaps Porzingis and playing mostly zone to try to slow down Kawhi Leonard and company. A healthy Maxi Kleber coupled with the additions of Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown should help Dallas solve those issues this season, but they will need all three players to step up when their number is called.