As the season winds down it’s sometimes hard to appreciate the actual basketball being played when the Kings are staring down the barrel of yet another sub-30 win year. But let’s take a minute to appreciate how well Buddy Hield has been playing as of late.
Coming into the year there were a lot of expectations on Buddy. He was the main return in the DeMarcus Cousins trade and was widely expected to be Sacramento’s go-to guy from the very beginning. Buddy struggled out of the gate though and rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic ended up taking over that starting role. As the season has progressed though Buddy has really started to come into his own, especially since the All-Star break.
In the 21 games since the break, Buddy has averaged a team-high 16.1 points on 46.5% from the field and 43.5% from three. He’s also upped his rebounding to 4.8 a game and has also been dishing it out to the tune of 2.8 assists. Buddy has also been one of the few Kings this season who has made the team better on both ends of the court. According to basketball-reference, the Kings are 3.7 points per 100 possessions better offensively with Buddy on the floor and 5.5 points per 100 possessions better defensively. Buddy’s steal rate has also doubled since last year.
While Buddy has improved his overall game, he’s still excelling at his strengths. According to NBA.com, Buddy is currently shooting 51.2% on catch and shoot jumpers, among the league’s leaders. His 42.9% from three on 392 attempts makes him just the third Sacramento Kings player (the other two being Mitch Richmond and Peja Stojakovic) ever to shoot that well from distance on that many attempts in a season.
Keep firing away Buddy.