Buddy Hield looking to build off last season averages

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) dribbles the ball down court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks in New York, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Although his 2019 season averages are slightly down from last year’s figures, Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield hopes to strongly build upon last year’s break-out season.

So far, Hield is averaging 17.1 points per game (ppg), down from his career-high 20.7 ppg posted last year. He is also shooting just 40.5 percent from the field, and a decent 37.5 percent from three-point range. Both his current percentages are slightly down after shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 42.7 percent during his third-year campaign. 

Nonetheless, there is no sign of panic from last year’s three-point contest finalist. He recently helped his team secure their second-straight win this past Sunday, November 3.

Under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, the Kings downed the Knicks, convincingly, 113-92. 

The 6'5'' Grand Bahamian shooting guard shot efficiently from the field on eight-for-16 shooting (50 percent) to finish with 22 points on the night. The three-point marksman also shot five-for-11 (45 percent) from three-point range. 

Kings’ point guard De’Aaron Fox led the scoring onslaught for the Kings with 24 points and set his teammates up nicely with six assists. 

Forwards Harrison Barnes anchored the Kings’ front court scoring production with 19 and 14 points respectively. Holmes, who has been a recent bright spot for the Kings, also finished with 10 rebounds. 

It was the Kings’ first game of their three-game road trip. They were in Toronto for their second game on the road where they faced off against the reigning champions of the league, the Raptors, yesterday evening (November 6) but those results were not known up to press time. 

While the Kings have reason for optimism, Hield said it’s going to take a lot more consistency as a unit to fully bounce back from their winless start.

“It’s just two games but we have to stay humble, keep working and watch a lot of film to get better. There are a lot of things we need to improve on because we’re not where we want to be yet but we’ll take 2-5 over 0-7.”

The third quarter of games have not been particularly kind to the Kings, which took them out of a few winnable games prior. This time around the Kings outscored the Knicks 29-23. 

The Pinedale, Eight Mile Rock, native also expressed that there is still a lot of season left and believes there’s no cause for he or the team to panic.

“It’s only been seven games. I think people overreact. It’s an 82-game season and everyone wants it now. They want to know how come you’re not making shots. It be like that sometimes. I started off slow but I know I’ll gradually get into the groove. When everything falls into place it’ll be the right time and everyone will be happy.”

Kings’ head coach Luke Walton viewed Sunday’s win as a foundation builder for their stint on the road. 

“It’s about trying to set the tone for a road trip for the first game,” Walton told reporters postgame, “It’s kind of important to come out with a good start, especially with flying across the country. I was very happy with our guys’ effort level, performance level - shots were going in, which is always nice. 

“But, as a coach I’m constantly looking for how we’re playing and are we getting better with our defensive schemes. I thought we really did a good job with that in the first half tonight.”

The Kings finished the first quarter of Sunday’s contest with a 32-23 lead, which they did not relinquish moving forward. Walton highlighted limiting turnovers and battling for rebounds as the catalyst for the manner in which the team performed. 

“Two of our big keys was cutting down our turnovers, which we did a good job of tonight, and really trying to compete in the rebound battle against this team that’s got a lot of big men on their team.”

The Kings out-rebounded the Knicks 50-38 and finished with just 14 turnovers for the game. They are averaging 17.3 turnovers for the season so far. 

The relationship between Hield and his new coach appears to be stable, as Hield indicated he’s been encouraged by the former NBA champion to shoot the basketball at a higher clip.

“I like Luke because he lets me shoot the ball every time. Sometimes he gets mad when I don’t shoot it, so having a guy like that, that believes in you and wants you to take shots. I’m glad to be coached by a guy like that. 

“We’re early into the season and we’ve got keep getting better and he’s on us every day … He’s been encouraging,” Hield concluded. 

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