By now, almost the entire Bahamas has gotten word that Buddy Hield was a part of the historic trade that sent perennial all-star center Demarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans.
In exchange, the Sacramento Kings got Tyreke Evans for a second time, Hield, Langston Galloway and a pair of picks in the 2017 NBA Draft in June.
And while I really don’t know how to feel about the move right now, as it relates to Hield, I definitely think there are some quick positives and negatives that can be taken away from this deal.
The first positive is that the Kings are already jaded with all of the other shooting guards on the roster. Ben McLemore is basically on his way out of the door, and although Afflalo is the starter, it’s not unfathomable that the Kings could start Hield and use the vet as backup (and his expiring contract) off the bench.
More important than that may be the fact that apparently, the Kings’ owner thinks Hield has the potential to be a star. More specifically, according to ESPN, Vivek Ranadive believes “Hield has Steph Curry potential.”
Playing in an atmosphere with more freedom to take risks could work in Hield’s favor. The No. 6 pick in last year’s draft made a name for himself at the University of Oklahoma by making a lot of tough shots in big moments. Maybe the idea of being able to take a couple bad ones without worrying about getting pulled could give Hield the confidence he needs to find his groove with his new team.
And while the positives may outweigh the negatives, there are some factors involved that could hinder Hield’s growth; at least for the remainder of this season.
The first concern is that the Kings have too many players that play the same position.
Garret Temple, McLemore, Arron Afflalo, and Malachi Richardson all play shooting guard. Not to mention the guys that came over with Hield in the trade – Evans and Galloway. Unless the Kings do something drastic at the trade deadline, they are going to have a lot of players that are upset about playing time. Being on a team where there’s tension between players and coaches is never good. And to top it off, some of the players on the Kings team have questionable track records to say the least.
The other thing that factors in heavily is the lack of playmakers on the roster. Aside from Collison, who may not even be a true starting caliber point guard, and Rudy Gay, no one else really creates their own shot. Afflalo is a serviceable scorer, but at this point in his career, I wouldn’t depend on him to lead my team on a nightly (or weekly) basis.
While Buddy may get more minutes with the Kings, he’ll also see more defensive schemes thrown at him, for the simple fact that teams don’t have to double anyone.
A lot of teams will look to run Hield off the three-point line and force him to create off the dribble. Although it’s something he can do to an extent, it’s not really his strong point right now.
It’s unlikely there will be any drastic changes in Buddy’s numbers right away, but if the Kings decide to take their foot off the pedal in the next few games and let the season play out, they’ll more than likely give Hield free reign to build his confidence and really assess what he can do.