Buddy Hield’s New Orleans Pelicans debut lived up to the lofty expectations the organisations and his fan base had once he was selected No.6 in the lottery.
Hield finished with 19 points in the Pelicans’ 116-102 win over the Dallas Mavericks Saturday night at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City, Louisiana.
He also added six rebounds; three assists and shot 8-12 from the field, including 3-6 from beyond three-point range.
In his debut, Hield said his goal was to be more patient in his adjustment to the NBA level.
“Yeah, don’t rush it,” Hield said of his performance. “Let it come to you. The ball will find you. Coach always says the ball will find you if you’re [in] the right spots. Once you give the ball up, it comes right back to you, and you’re [not] taking a contested shot to a wide-open shot. So that’s cool. … I’m just learning as I go.”
Hield and the new look Pelicans shot 58.2 from the field, including 12/21 (57.1 percent) on three-pointers.
”Whatever coach needs me to do, I’ll have to come with intensity,” Hield said. ”I just need to be efficient and let the game come to me.”
New Orleans went on a huge run bridging the third and fourth quarters, regaining control of the game after Dallas had surged early in the third period. After trailing 22-21 through 12 minutes, the Pelicans amassed 95 points in the final three quarters.
Hield and E’Tuwann each finished with 19 points, Terrence Jones had 17, Langston Galloway had 11, while Lance Stephenson and Tim Frazier each finished with 10.
In his return from an injury-plagued season, Anthony Davis had 13 points and high praises for Hield in his debut.
“He calls himself Buddy Buckets, and that’s what he did tonight,” Davis said, “He made a lot of shots, looked good on the defensive end. I’m definitely excited to play with him. He did a good job.”
The last time Hield played in Louisiana, it was as a member of the Oklahoma Sooners when they defeated LSU 77-75 in Baton Rouge. Hield had 32 points and made 7-8 three pointers in the contest.
In July, Hield competed play in the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las, Vegas Nevada.
He averaged 16.8 points, 5.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds through five games but struggled shooting at just 34 per cent from the field and 24 per cent from three-point range.
“I think he had his moments,” Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said,”Obviously, he shot the ball well and made some plays. I just think it’s typical. He’s a rookie. He’s going to have games like this, and he’ll struggle in some games. The thing I liked best about it is that he always gives maximum effort. And as long as he gives maximum effort, I think there will be some chance for him to have some success.”
The Pelicans will continue their preseason schedule Tuesday, October 4 when they host the Indiana Pacers at 8pm in the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.