ROUNDBALL DAILY

NBA Draft Profile: Buddy Hield

 

Buddy Hield

6-4, 214 lbs.

School: Oklahoma

Class: Senior

STRENGTHS: Shooting. This kid was the best shooter in the country this past season, and one of the best in the college game since Steph Curry was lighting up the Southern Conference. Hield shot 50% from the field last season, a notable accomplishment for a shooting guard, and 45.7% from three-point range. He also knocked down 88% of his free throws. It’s no wonder Hield averaged 25 points per game, and went for 30-plus 12 times, including a 46-point output in a triple overtime classic at Kansas.

Hield’s stroke can be attributed to his outstanding work ethic, which has been the subject of feature stories and E:60 type videos all season. He gets to the gym hours earlier than anyone else to go through a routine that involves him putting up thousands of shots per day. The best part about Hield is that he’s willed himself to the top of draft boards. He earned this. As a freshman, the Bahamas native averaged just 7.8 points in 25 minutes per game, but he’s improved every year he’s been in Norman. Just think of how much more he can improve with an NBA staff around him and all the time in the world to work on his game.


WEAKNESSES:
The main knock against Hield is that he’s 22 years old (still baffling that this is a knock), and that he may not have the high ceiling of some of the other prospects. That, of course, is nonsense. Also nonsense is the idea that he can’t become a star because he’s only 6-4, which is small for an NBA two-guard. He’ll be just fine. Real issues include the fact that he’s not the quickest lateral defender, and that he might struggle at the point (averaged just 2 assists per game this season). He can also be turnover prone, giving away 3.1 per game last season.

BOTTOM LINE: Teams will regret not drafting Buddy Hield, especially if he slips past the Celtics at No. 3. He’d be an ideal fit in Boston, as the team needs three-point shooting, and a guy who can compliment Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt. He’s got future All-Star written all over him, especially given his legendary work ethic. But even if he doesn’t reach those heights, we think Buddy will at least be a solid, three-point specialist who can start for years in the league, along the lines of J.J. Redick or Kyle Korver. We’ll bet he’s better than that, though.

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