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Buddy Hield impresses in reserve role in opener

The Buddy Hield that we saw against Portland could challenge for Sixth Man of the Year.

Sacramento Kings v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Buddy Hield has made it clear in the past that he sees himself as a starter in the NBA.

Despite that prior stance, Hield has seemed accepting of a bench role in the early stages of this season as Tyrese Haliburton has usurped him as the Sacramento Kings’ starter.

Hield has had multiple good stretches in his career with the Kings as a Sixth Man, but for whatever reason, he just hasn’t wanted to fully accept that role, until now.

In the Kings' season-opening 124 to 121 victory over the Trail Blazers, we saw just how special Hield can be coming off the bench.

Hield put up an efficient 17 points on just nine shots, making four of his seven 3-point attempts. For the most part, Hield was shooting when he was open, taking what the Blazers defense gave him and not taking more than a couple of dribbles anytime he caught the ball.

Far too often in the last two seasons, Hield’s over-dribbling and over-ambitious shot selection has gotten him in trouble, but we didn’t see that much Wednesday. The one instance that Hield was looking a little overzealous with his shot was when he bricked a three on the fastbreak with the team leading by 17. Other than that, Hield played one of the cleanest games we’ve seen from him in a Kings’ uniform.

If Hield continues to buy into a sixth-man role, it would be the best for all parties. Hield could legitimately contend for the Sixth Man of The Year Award, and it would increase his trade value around the league.

Despite not starting the game, Hield played the third-most minutes on the team after De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes and was in the team’s closing lineup in the fourth quarter.

Many Kings fans have grown tired of him the last two seasons, but Hield is still one of the best shooters in the NBA and has a chance to be a major part of any success the Kings have this season.