In what has turned out to be a move in the right direction, Buddy Hield’s rookie season has begun to show the kind of success fans on every side of the spectrum have been ready to see.
After an up and down stint with the New Orleans’ Pelicans, the team that drafted the Eight Mile Rock native, Hield has begun to see steady increases in his game.
Since the All-Star Weekend trade that saw Hield exchanged for DeMarcus Cousins, his scoring and shooting percentages increased rapidly after arriving in the capital of California.
In his 10 game outings, the former Oklahoma Sooner has consistently scored in double figures. He has averaged 14.7 points per game on 52 percent shooting, according to ESPN.com (17.3ppg on 47.4 percent shooting in his first three starts according to cowbellkingdom.com).
Hield was inserted into the starting line up for the first time since wearing a Sacramento uniform for the Kings’ tilt against the Washington Wizards last Friday.
“Buddy Fresh’s” three-point shooting has also benefitted from the move, with a current three-point percentage of 55 percent.
The rookie guard’s stats for the season now stand at 9.4ppg, to go with 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game, to go with averages in his shooting percentage (41 percent) and three-point shooting (39 percent).
Hield has begun to grow comfortably in his new role in head coach David Joerger’s offence.
According to kings.com writer Benedict Tagle, “No. 24 is thriving and his game is benefitting from his increased confidence and aggressiveness with the ball. His usage percentage has increased, he is drawing more personal fouls and consequently, earning more trips to the free throw line. Not only does this put opposing defenders into foul trouble, it allows him to take advantage of his excellent free throw percentage.”
The most recent success he’s found on the court put Hield at number five in the Rookie of the Year race last week. This week, though, Hield currently sits at number six. But according to nba.com the 6'4'' shooting guard has the potential to finish in the top-five for points and three-point percentage.
Still, the Kings have gone 2-8 since the second half of the season began.
There is still more requested of Hield on the defensive end and with ball handling. Those are two things the former Big 12 Player of the Year is ready to improve in the off-season.
“I always had problems with defense growing up,” he admitted to reporters during a post-game presser, “Because I’ve always been a scorer, all my life … I’m just trying to keep getting better and earn my respect playing defence.”
When questioned about ball handling he furthered, “This summer’s going to be really crazy, because I want my ball handling coach with me. I already got one picked out and we’ll just be working on ball handling for at least two or three hours a day, going into shots and stuff like that.”
The Kings sit at number 13 in the western conference at 26-41 on the season. They took on pacific division rivals, the Phoenix Suns yesterday evening in Phoenix. They will have tonight and tomorrow off until they play Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder this Saturday in Chesapeake Arena, Oklahoma City at 3:00 p.m.
Published Thursday, March, 16, 2017