Hield leads Kings over Jazz

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) guards Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) in the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The NBA preseason rolled along this past week as all 32 teams prepare for the regular season set to tip-off this coming Tuesday, October 22. 

In that light, Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield and the Sacramento Kings continued to build their on-court chemistry with a 128-115 victory over the Utah Jazz Monday (October 14) night. 

The 6´5´´ guard out of Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama erupted for a game-high 23 points on 52.9 percent shooting (nine-for-17). Hield did a little of everything as well and collected three rebounds, while dishing out five assists in 28 minutes of action. 

Kings’ forward Marvin Bagley III turned in a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Bogdan Bogdanovic also chipped in with 16 points, five rebounds and eight assists. 

Hield finished the first half with 18 points, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer to close out the first half of play. 

The locker room was in high spirits about what they accomplished and the steps forward they took as a unit. Defense and rebounding are two areas the team is aiming to improve on, and Monday’s outing gave this year’s crew a reason for optimism.

“We did well rebounding, guarding passing lanes,” Hield shared in a post-game interview posted on Sactown Royalty’s YouTube channel. “Spacing, getting the ball out quicker, playing at a faster pace. I feel we haven’t played at the pace we should be playing at yet. 

“Usually you’re seeing us running, getting wide-open threes in transition; and that starts by running the lanes, getting long rebounds and pushing the pace with De’Aaron (Fox), with his speed and just making plays in transition.”

As the first year coach of the new look Kings, Luke Walton was pleased with the team’s attention to detail on the defensive front. 

“The defensive intensity and mind set that we talked about, I saw it tonight. So, I was very pleased with that. I think we only gave up one lay-up in the first quarter. We have coaches tracking rim protection, contests and just from the eye test tonight was much, much better.”

The former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers also stated, “We talked about being more physical and rebounding not being an individual thing and it’s a five-man job coming and cracking back from the guards and going after it and attacking the ball off the rim; not just waiting for it to come to us. 

“Those are things we’ve been stressing and for a preseason game it was good to see the guys embrace that and do a better job.”

Bahamian fans will get a treat during the opening week of the NBA regular season. The Kings will kick-off the regular season on the road at the Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix, Arizona when they visit fellow Bahamian DeAndre Ayton and the Suns Wednesday, October 23 at 10:00 p.m. 

It appears that Hield wants to make Sacramento his home for the next few years. October 21 marks the deadline for the Kings to offer the four-year guard out of the University of Oklahoma a contract extension. Hield is eligible for a four-year rookie-scale extension worth up to $130.7 million or a five-year designated-player extension worth up to $170 million. 

Hield was recently vocal about the idea of staying in Sacramento. While he is focused on performing at a high level, he also voiced he would love to get the extension done sooner rather than later.

Via the Sacramento Bee, Hield voiced back October  10, “I want to get that done, for sure ... This is where I want to be, so it would be good for me to be here in Sacramento. If I’m their guy, I think they should make it happen already. I want to build a future here. I want to be here.”

Last season the league saw Hield’s scoring numbers increase, while becoming one of the league’s efficient shooters from the three-point arch. Hield averaged a career-high 20.7 points per game on 44.6 percent shooting from the field, while shooting 42.7 percent from deep. He also averaged 5.0 rebounds and shot 88.6 percent from the free throw line. 

Hield was also among the league leaders in three-point field goal percentage and trailed only James Harden, Steph Curry and Paul George, respectively, in three- pointers made. The Grand Bahamian put on a show during the Mountain Dew Three-Point Contest at the 2019 All-Star Weekend, as he competed in the final round with Curry and eventual winner Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets. 

For his career, Hield is averaging 14.9 points on 44.6 shooting from the field and 41.9 percent from the three-point arch. 

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