The Kings have been surprisingly good this season, and Buddy Hield has had tremendous impact on their success.
Sacramento is 10-10 so far this year, and it looks like it will improve upon the 27-55 record it posted last season. Hield is still a 24-year-old, but he’s helping lead the young core around him.
“I watched Kobe Bryant a lot. He made a big name for himself just making clutch buckets. … Every player wants that feeling, the crowd is cheering, I just want to be part of that, Hield told reporters after his team’s recent victory over the Thunder, via The Ringer.
Hield matched second-year guard De’Aaron Fox with a team-leading 35 minutes against Oklahoma City. He also also led his team in scoring, pouring in 25 points. He’s from the Bahamas, but played college ball at Oklahoma. He watched plenty of Thunder games when he was just an aspiring NBA player, but now he’s in his fourth professional season.
Buddy was selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Pelicans. He’s known for being a high volume shooter that can score from anywhere on the floor, but his efficiency from deep sets him apart from his competition. Especially when you consider the degree of difficulty in his shot selection. It’s clear that he grew up watching the likes of Kobe every time he steps on the court.
Things didn’t pan out in New Orleans, so he was traded to Sacramento as a key piece in the deal that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans to partner with Anthony Davis. The Kings’ management was very high on Hield throughout college and entering the draft. They felt he had superstar potential, and it became clear that the organization’s relationship with Cousins was crumbling.
After spending a season and a half as a reserve, Hield blossomed into a starter for the Kings. He shot 36.9 percent from deep with the Pelicans, but he hasn’t shot lower than 40 percent from behind the arc since making the move to California. So far this season, he’s shooting a career high 45.1 percent on 3-point attempts and leads the Kings in scoring with a mark of 18.8 points per game.
With Fox as his backcourt companion, Willie Cauley-Stein is enforcing the middle and Bogdan Bogdanovich is another lethal shooter on the wing. 2018 first-round pick Marvin Bagley III is getting has tremendous upside at the power forward position. Sacramento currently has the best 3-point shooting percentage as a team, just beating out the Warriors with a mark of 38.6 percent. With proper development, Sacramento could prove to be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
Hield is an integral part of this young squad, and he won’t be flying under the radar for much longer.