Hield playing well despite Kings’ struggles

Hield playing well despite Kings’ struggles
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Buddy Hield #24 of the Sacramento Kings competes in the 2018 Taco Bell Skills Challenge at Staples Center on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Given that the Sacramento Kings don’t have a shot at making it to the 2018 National Basketball Association (NBA) Playoffs and that the regular season is winding down, not a lot of attention has been placed on how well Chavanno “Buddy” Hield has been playing as of late.

Hield, who got off to a slow start this season, has improved his numbers across the board since the league’s All-Star game in February.

In the 21 games he played in since the break, Hield has averaged a team high of 16.1 points on 46.54 per cent shooting from the field and 43.5 per cent from three. He has also improved his rebounding to 4.8 a game and is dishing out 2.8 assists per contest.

In the Kings’ 84-83 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Hield poured in 19 points on 8 for 15 shooting and added three rebounds, two assists and four steals across 32 minutes. Hield’s dunk with 37 seconds left to play came off his own steal and pushed Sacramento ahead 82-80.

In the win over the Lakers, Hield recorded his 10th straight double-digit scoring game, and shot at least 50 per cent from three-point range for the seventh time in the last nine games.

Hield, who scored the majority of Sacramento’s bench points said, the second unit always plays great and tries to keep the game within reach so the starters can finish the game.

“We have a lot of energy and we try to build off the (starters),” Hield said.

“If they bring energy or not, we try to capitalize.”

Hield has embraced the new role off the bench in recent months and has thrived in the position ever since.

“This time coming off the bench has been a bit of a wake-up call to get me going and to get back my confidence,” he said.

“I am still playing minutes, and once I’m out there seeing time, I’m cool with it. Once I can help the team to win, that’s all that matters. I’m just thankful for every opportunity I get to showcase what I can do. I’m really blessed to be able to do this.”

Hield’s defense has also picked up in recent weeks.

His defensive rating of 107.2 is fourth-best on the team this season. Only Frank Mason, Jakarr Sampson and Jack Cooley have better ratings.