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Let Buddy Hield launch more threes

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Buddy is coming off an incredible year from three and he should be attempting more this upcoming season.

Kimani Okearah

If you’ve witnessed any of Buddy Hield’s workout pictures or videos from this current offseason, you come to a similar conclusion as everyone else who has seen them — he never stops improving himself.

Improving himself will certainly be a key aspect he will be focusing on for this crucial season a few months away, as the Bahamian native is coming off a career year garnering him more attention as one of the better shooting guards in the league. He additionally makes for a perfect pairing with electric guard De’Aaron Fox, but there’s one truly elite skill Buddy possesses — the deep ball.

Hield owned a ridiculously efficient and impressive three point percentage of 42.7 percent, which ranked seventh in the league among qualified players. In the top seven, only one player attempted a higher amount of threes than Buddy and that answer is the obvious Stephen Curry, who shot 810 three pointers. Hield topped out at 651 attempts and the next closest player above him was Danny Green who shot 435 threes and ranked second.

The amount of threes Buddy took situated him at 7.9 attempts a game from beyond the arc, and Hield converted on 3.4 of those. Just factoring the 3.4 makes a game, Hield was an incredible fourth in the league in three pointers made a game trailing some of the best players in the league in Curry, James Harden and Paul George - that’s remarkable company in a remarkable stat.

Both of those numbers should increase next season.

In a California Classic interview, Hield told Doug Christie and Grant Napear that he wanted to become a more elite scorer and he noted that getting more free throw attempts was a way to reach that goal. Shooting more three pointers is another great way of Hield maximizing his talent.

Buddy was above league average from every angle beyond the arc and could prove to hit them in a variety of forms.

Buddy and Fox excelled together and their chemistry continued to develop to better heights. Fox exceeds at finding and playing with shooters and that was clear with Buddy, who we know finished the season as one of the best shooters. In fact, Hield received the most passes from Fox with 23.9 percent of his passes going to Buddy.

Hield was assisted by Fox for a whopping grand total of 138 times, easily one of the most between any Kings combination. Fox became very adept in finding Hield with clever passes and the clip was one of the best examples of that. With these two in for an extra boost in minutes and Luke Walton’s plan to shoot more three’s, these two will certainly be in for more plays together and will give Hield a chance to raise the amount of shots he takes.

We recognize that Buddy can pull the trigger from anywhere on the court whether he is attempting a catch and shoot or looking for space to pull up, but there’s a missing piece of his three point game he needs to unlock.

In the clip, he pulls up from deep over the elite defender in Paul George to drill the three but even though he made it, there could be opportunities to shape a different play than simply pulling up.

What Buddy could upgrade in his game is being a better passer on the drive. He converted on 45.9 percent of his driving layups on the season but specifically improving his ability to tighten his handle to drive inside, find a kick out and shift to a spot for an open look.

Hield has been able to perform the drive, kick and shift on rare occasions but doing it more often will make him even more dangerous.

The clip shows Hield moving a rather vulnerable pass in the corner to Nemanja Bjelica who takes it to the free throw line, allowing Hield to leak out in between Serge Ibaka and Kawhi Leonard for a nice look.

Another instance of the drive, kick, and shift occurred in transition against the tough Memphis defense. Hield attracts multiple defenders, floats it to the incoming Yogi Ferrell who snatches the attention, permitting Hield to sneak to the corner for the pass back and an open look.

If Hield can catch opposing defenses off guard by attracting them in on dribble drives because of his ability to finish at the rim, he can look to pass the ball back out and find himself an open look utilizing his additional skill of endless running - that’ll give him more chances at three pointers, though not as frequent as catch and shoots or pull-up jumpers.

Plus, Hield has revealed some potential for being able to drive to the rim. When he drove left and took the ball to the basket (17 possessions), he scored 1.588 points per possession ranking in the 99th percentile, per Synergy.

The question remains if he can build on that, because opposing defenders will have to respect Hield’s ability to take it to the basket whether running an iso or not but if he takes that jump in his long ball expertise, things will open up even more for the offense.

Hield requires an elevation from 7.9 attempts this past season and should aim for circling 10 attempts a game. After a superbly efficient season from deep, I’m not doubting his ability to maintain that level of efficiency on greater attempts. Give Buddy more good looks and let it fly.