• 2017-18 averages: 80 G | 12 GS | 25.3 MP | 13.5 PTS | 3.8 REB | 1.9 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.3 BLK | 1.6 TOV | 44.6 FG% | 43.1 3P% | 87.7 FT% |

    Coming into his second season Buddy Hield was a focal point of the Kings’ lineup — and for good reason since he was one of the main pieces the Kings got in return for DeMarcus Cousins.

    Hield would somewhat falter in the early part of the season, though, especially as a starter. In 12 games as part of the starting five, Hield averaged just 12.8 points in 26.2 minutes per game. His scoring wasn’t so much the issue opposed to his shooting percentage. The 24-year-old shot just 39.1 percent in those games and knocked down just 35.4 percent of his 3-point attempts. His offensive rating as a starter was a minuscule 94, while that ballooned as a reserve was a respectably solid 105.

    October, which was the only month when Hield started the bulk of the team’s game, was all the evidence the team needed to move Hield to the bench. He finished the month with what would be season low averages in scoring, offensive rating, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and true shooting percentage.

    Once Hield made the shift from starter to reserve, he flourished. Hield shot 45 percent from the field or better in just two of his first seven starts. In his first three games coming off the bench he shot 61.2 percent.

    It was obvious that Hield was able to take advantage of going up against team’s reserves and he became the most important part of Sacramento’s second unit. This was evident in Hield’s usage, where he had the team’s second highest usage percentage on the team — behind only Zach Randolph.

    Hield’s position as the team’s sixth man became more prominent as the season continued and his ability to put up consistent numbers off the bench was something the Kings not only enjoyed but relied on. The team’s bench, with Hield leading the charge, outscored the starters on a number of occasions down the stretch of the season.

    Hield’s confidence was exemplary as the season went on and he showed an ability to not only shoot good shots, but to effectively use down screens on a regular basis – as shown here against the Celtics:

    He also showed an an ability to create his own shot:

    Although only 6.3 percent of his shots were after seven or more dribbles, the Bahamian knocked down 49.1 percent of his attempts when that occurred. Hield’s highest shot selection percentage (34.7 percent), of course, came on catch and shoot situations (0 dribbles) where he made 53.0 percent of his attempts.

    Hield’s ability to knock down 3-pointers off of screens and without dribbling was also as impressive. He made 50.2 percent of his attempts without even dribbling the ball.

    The offense and confidence from Hield was something the team needed to see, but his development hardly started there.

    Although the team didn’t play good defense for much of the season, Hield had one of the top defensive ratings on the team (a modest 111 DRTG) and tied for the team lead in steals per game at 1.1 with Willie Cauley-Stein.

    Hield’s ability to become a pest on defense was shown by the amount of careless turnovers he forced as he applied full-court pressure sporadically or challenged for a lazy inbounds pass.

    He showed that he not only paid attention to his opponent’s every move, but he was also able to take advantage of their poor decisions.

    Here’s Hield in a bubble :

    As if the offense from the sixth man slot and defensive ability wasn’t enough, Hield also showed that he could pass the ball. In the final two months of the season, Hield almost doubled his average of assists from the months prior. From October to February, Hield averaged 1.6 assists per game and in March and April, he boosted that up to to 2.9 per game.

    One of the only faults Hield may have had this year was his lack of getting to the basket. He sometimes settled for shots that could have been easier and didn’t really get to the free throw line; he averaged just 1.0 free throws per game.

    When the Kings traded for Hield, it was more than likely they envisioned him being a starting two guard, but with his ability to effortlessly score off the bench, the team had no choice but to utilize him against second string squads.

    A Sixth Man of the Year award isn’t far fetched for Hield down the road. If the Kings use him correctly and play him consistent minutes, he’s proven to give good results off the bench and that’s all the team should ask for from him at this point.

Fantasy News

  • Cameron Johnson
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Cameron Johnson (left calf soreness) and Ty Jerome (right ankle sprain) have been downgraded to out for Wednesday's game against the Kings.

    The Suns' crop of backup point guards are looking at a few extra minutes each with Jerome out, though it's still too crowded to rely on anyone. Mikal Bridges is in line to see a heavier workload at both wing spots without the services of Johnson.

    Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter

  • Shaquille Harrison
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Shaquille Harrison (hamstring) has been downgraded to out for Wednesday's game against the Hornets.

    This is not a good sign for Harrison's chances of playing in the season opener. Harrison is off the fantasy radar as a deep reserve, even if he suits up.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Fred VanVleet
    PG, Toronto Raptors

    Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby will join Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol in the starting unit for Tuesday's season-opening game against the Pelicans.

    VanVleet, who was in line for mnites either way, gets a boost in value now that he's the confirmed starter for the Raptors. Norman Powell could still push for 20+ minutes as the first guard/wing off the bench.

    Source: Ryan Wolstat on Twitter

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Andre Iguodala remains away from the team and will not play in Wednesday's season opener.

    The Grizzlies remain steadfast in their desire to trade Iguodala rather than buy him out. This saga may drag out to the trade deadline. Iguodala can be left on the waiver wire while this situation plays itself out.

    Source: NBA Injury report

  • Wendell Carter Jr.
    PF, Chicago Bulls

    Wendell Carter Jr. is being listed as probable for Wednesday's matchup against the Hornets.

    Carter is ready to roll for the season opener and has the potential for a big season if he can stay healthy. That has proven to be a big if so far in his young career.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Andre Roberson
    SG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Andre Roberson (left knee) is listed as out for Wednesday's game against the Jazz.

    Roberson has been ramping up his workload recently and is getting closer to a return, but it won't come in the opener. Roberson is a plus defender but can be left on the waiver wire.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Nassir Little
    SF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) is available to play in Wednesday's tilt against the Nuggets.

    Little doesn't hold much value as he battles for backup minutes with a host of players.

    Source: Jay Allen on Twitter

  • Hassan Whiteside
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Hassan Whiteside (left ankle sprain) is good to go for Wednesday's game against the Nuggets.

    Whiteside practiced without limitations on Monday, and now we have official confirmation that he will play. Whiteside has proven to be elite in rebounds, blocks, and field goal percentage in limited minutes, and has the potential for a career-year with the shortage of options in the Blazers frontcourt.

    Source: Jay Allen on Twitter

  • Reggie Jackson
    PG, Detroit Pistons

    Reggie Jackson (lower back tightness) is listed as probable to face the Pacers on Wednesday.

    Although the team added a few guards and Jackson is about as dull as they come, he is the starting PG for a fringe playoff team who is a reliable source for points and assists, while quietly nearly doubling his career average from the three-point range last year.

    Source: Eric Woody on Twitter

  • Markieff Morris
    PF, Detroit Pistons

    Markieff Morris (sore lower back) is being listed as questionable to play in Wednesday's game against the Pacers.

    The Pistons have a back-to-back set to open the season and are already going to be without Blake Griffin for the rest of October, so they need Morris in the lineup. Is Morris can't go, Christain Wood is going to be a hot cheap DFS play to open the season after earning a roster spot by averaging 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in five preseason games.

    Source: Eric Woody on Twitter