Buddy Hield’s improved statistics in Sacramento are not a fluke

It’s been nearly a month and a half since the Sacramento Kings traded away DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans for a combination of players – one of which included a rookie named Buddy Hield.

Sometimes you just need to be in a situation where a team believes in you 100 percent. When Hield was in New Orleans, he was sixth on the team in terms of players who attempted more than 200 shots. Hield was getting less shots (and minutes) than players like E’Twaun Moore and Tyreke Evans. Even though he’s a rookie that seems strange, especially for a team that was 23-34 when they traded him.

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Since landing in Sacramento, he’s been THE GUY running the show. He’s attempted the most shots since arriving in Sacramento (186). Willie Cauley-Stein’s 167 and Darren Collison’s 165 follow closely behind. However it’s the field goal percentage (48.9%) and three-point percentage (43.0%) that let’s you understand why coach Dave Joerger trusts him so much night after night.

Here’s a closer look at the difference Hield has made since moving to California.

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Do you see a pattern? Since arriving in Sacramento not only are his numbers up, but some of them are up at a very high rate. Shooting 43 percent from behind the 3-point line is better than Klay Thompson and J.J. Redick. Will those numbers stay this way for an entire season? Probably not, but to do it for nearly a quarter of the way into an NBA season, at the very least, shows that he’s capable of bigger things than what he did in Louisiana.

So, why is this the case? Why are his numbers up?

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First of all take a look at his release. It’s lightning quick and he can seemingly get it off at any time. In the first video, look at the 59-second mark and the 1:16 mark. On the second video look at the 1:06 mark and the 1:49 mark. It’s out of his hands so quickly that players guarding him don’t have a chance to react to it.

He even has a jumper/floater that he shows around the 45-second mark of the first video and 35 seconds into the second video. Hield is starting to develop different shots he likes from different spots on the floor.

Another advantage of his quick release is that it’s hard to block his shot. Over 74 games, Hield has had his shot blocked 40 times out of 657 attempts. That’s an average of 6.01% of the time.

To put that into perspective, according to NBAminer.com, Damian Lillard gets his shot blocked 6.7% of the time, Devin Booker gets blocked at a 6.7% clip and DeMar DeRozan gets blocked 6.1% of the time. That’s two players who have made multiple All-Star teams and a guy who just became the sixth player to score 70 points in an NBA game.

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You may have heard reports that the owner, Vivek Ranadive loved Hield and compared him to Stephen Curry. Those comparisons didn’t help Hield out, but you’re starting to see what the owner meant, even if it’s a bit far-fetched.

Now, again, that Curry part of the equation is still crazy because, well, it’s Steph Curry and the man can shoot from 30 feet with ease, but that doesn’t mean that Hield hasn’t been a bright spot for the Kings recently.

Buddy Hield may not be someone who can lead a team just yet, but he’s showing glimpses. He’s unafraid to shoot and at this point in the Kings season, that’s what they need.

They need a guy who can take and make a shot at any point in the game with a hand in his face. Perhaps he can take another step next season with a full offseason of practices with his teammates and grow into the guy people hoped he would be coming out of Oklahoma last year.

(These stats were accounted before the Kings lost to the Jazz on March 29th)

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Anthony Bertacchi on Twitter
Anthony Bertacchi
Special Contributor to Cowbell Kingdom and a proud Sacramento State Alum.

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