Hield projected as No.9 pick ahead of Sweet 16

After going up as high as No. 6 on a number of reputable mock draft boards midway through the regular season, Oklahoma senior guard Buddy Hield finds himself at No.9 on USA Today’s latest mock draft board, which was released yesterday, ahead of the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament.

If the draft were to be held today, he would be the Toronto Raptors first pick. With Demar Derozan’s contract situation still in a state of flux, the Raptors would need a wingman capable of shouldering a heavy scoring load, similar to what Hield has done all year for the Sooners. The Nuggets, who have the eighth pick, could also be looking to pair a scoring threat with their last draft pick, point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who’s seemed to solidify himself as more of a playmaker than a scorer.

The top five picks in the draft aren’t likely to change regardless of what happens over the course of the next few weeks, but there’s still some shuffling that could be done through the next five picks. Hield’s play down the stretch could land him in the sixth or seventh spot, depending on team needs.

His biggest asset has been his improvement from behind the three point line-from 24% in his freshman year to 46.4% his senior year- placing him amongst the league leaders in efficiency.

He’s been nothing short of terrific through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, averaging 31.5 points and six rebounds.

A strong performance against Texas A&M and a player like Danuel House could give Hield a boost on the draft boards as he and the Sooners continue on the quest for a national title.

Oklahoma takes on A&M on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.