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Sac-Town Crown Kings Report- Can Buddy Hield Be a Future NBA Sixth Man? Kings Fans Sure Hope So!

Written By: Tom Witt
Contact: [email protected]
Blog: TomTooWitty Sports Blog

Buddy… Bench Balla’?!

Buddy Hield is one of the major keys to the Sacramento Kings success.

And in some fans minds, to their lack of success at times.

Since 1/24 the Kings have sported a 13-7 record since moving Buddy Hield to the bench, arguably their best stretch of the season.

That shows that Sacramento can win with Hield in the mix… though, it may be important what order Chef Walton mixes him into the recipe.

Change Inevitable in Sac-Town

The Kings started the season injured, and not quite performing up to their pre-season expectations.

A change was needed, and imminent.

On Jan 24th, Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton decided to make a lineup change.

This change would move starter Buddy Hield and bring him off the bench, while starting Bogdan Bogdanovich in his place.

This is a move Kings fans, mainly the ones who are disgruntled with Buddy, have been wanting to have happen for some time now.

Hield’s Reaction to New Bench Role

As with most players, Buddy wasn’t exactly like a kid on Christmas morning when the head coach tells him he is moving from starter to coming off the bench.

Buddy has been vocal about his displeasure in the past with his lack of minutes, especially in crunch time situations.

When asked about how Hield responded to being told about his move to the bench Coach Walton stated,


“Buddy was not happy about not starting, but he didn’t bitch. He said, ‘You’re the coach. I’m going to do what I need to do.’” 

“Walton weighs in: Buddy, Bogi, Kings growth and a season (somewhat) saved”, 4/28/2020, Sam Amick, The Athletic, https://theathletic.com/1780069/2020/04/28/walton-weighs-in-buddy-bogey-kings-growth-and-a-season-somewhat-saved/?source=dailyemail

Buddy Bench Balla’

Hield Gets Better with Move to the Bench

If Buddy’s first game off the bench was any indication of things to come, Kings fans are in for something good!

In a win against the Bulls on 1/24, which snapped a six game losing streak, Buddy came off the bench and scored 21 points, including five threes, and hit some big shots late in the game.

 Numbers Never Lie…

According to NBA.com advanced stats, during Buddy Hield’s 20 games off the bench he was second on the team in points per game, with 19.4, only behind De’Aaron Fox.

This was all while shooting an inter-stellar 47.9% from three point range, on a whopping 9.3 attempts per game!

Buddy’s 2019-20 Season Stats

In 64 games played, in which Buddy started 44, Hield per game averaged 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, while shooting 42.9% FG, 39.5% from 3PT range and 85.5% from the free throw line. Basketball-Reference Buddy Hield Stats

Buddy Hield 2019-20 Season Highlight Reel!

Thanks MaxaMillion711 for making this video!

Great Teams Need Great Bench Players

Most great teams need someone other than their starting five to play like a starter.

Toni Kukoc of the famed Chicago Bulls 90’s era teams, featured on the ESPN docu-series, “The Last Dance”, was a pivotal player in the Bulls second NBA championship 3-peat.

The Spurs championship runs featured future hall of famer, smooth lefty, Manu Ginobili, coming off the bench.

Great Sacramento Kings teams of the past featured players like Bobby Jackson, who won 2003-04 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Even NBA scoring machine James Harden once won the 6th man award for the Oklahoma City Thunder, during the 2011-12 season. The same season that OKC made it to the NBA finals but lost to LeBron and the Miami Heat 4-1.

Players don’t need to start the game to have a huge impact on the outcome.

Coach Walton speaks on the impact Buddy can have coming off the bench,

“Even with Buddy (coming off the bench), he was still playing starter minutes, he was still finishing certain games, and it’s one of those things where if you’re truly bought into being on the team, you end up accepting it because that’s a huuuggee value. I mean, you look at Ginobili with the Spurs, you look at Lamar with our Lakers teams, Steve did it with Andre up in Golden State. So you need starter caliber players kind of playing with that second group a lot of times. And I thought Buddy had really, really done a nice job of embracing that and making our team better.” – Luke Walton, Kings Head Coach

“Walton weighs in: Buddy, Bogi, Kings growth and a season (somewhat) saved”, 4/28/2020, Sam Amick, The Athletic, https://theathletic.com/1780069/2020/04/28/walton-weighs-in-buddy-bogey-kings-growth-and-a-season-somewhat-saved/?source=dailyemail

That Dirty ‘C’ Word… CONSISTENCY

Sacramento needs consistent play out of Buddy Hield in order to be successful.

The Buddy Hield that hurts the Kings is the one that turns the ball over, makes bad decisions, and doesn’t consistently play hard on defense.

And those things won’t be fixed by a great 3-point percentage… no matter how great.

For the Kings, and for Buddy, to be successful, Hield needs to be a high percentage, consistent player.

Hield needs to take care of the ball, passing and dribbling. Buddy did a nice job to improve his ball handling skills during the previous off-season.

Buddy needs to consistently make smart decisions, like knowing when to shoot and when to move the ball. While trusting that his teammates will work the ball back to him for an EVEN BETTER shot than the one he passed up earlier in the possession.

This is all while playing more consistent defense, not necessarily 2nd team all league defense, but that “C” word, CONSISTENT defense.

If Buddy can do most of these things I mention above with a bit of consistency, he may not be in the game at the tip-off, but he most likely will be on the floor when the final buzzer sounds, and that’s what competing is all about.

What Will the Future Hold…

At this moment, early May 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine, we don’t know when the NBA will come back.

Whenever that may be, I think the Kings have a bright future, especially one involving an efficient, consistent Buddy ‘Bench Balla’ Hield.

GO KINGS!

-SpikeballTom

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SpikeballTom
My name is Tom and I am a 30 year old dude who loves sports, and the Sacramento Kings. I have a lifelong love for the sport of basketball which was instilled by my grandpa Ernie at a young age. He would me to the local hoop court at the park, teaching me to "keep my hand in the cookie jar", that "it's all in the wrist" when shooting, and that you can learn more from a loss than a win. Grandpa Ernie grew up playing on the dirt courts of Berkeley, CA and played basketball at University of San Francisco in the 1930s, before Bill Russell. My first live basketball game was a Cal Bears game in the Cow Palace with my grandpa, watching NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzales and my favorite, point guard Randy Duck! I grew up as a young kid falling in love with the NBA by watching Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc and the Chicago Bulls on the national WGN Chicago television station. But when I received a Kings Kids Club flyer in the mail in 1998 it was game over, GO KINGS! I started off watching Lawerence Funderburke and Corliss Williamson, as they slowly built the pieces that got them to the "Greatest Show on the Court" with J-Will, C-Webb, Peja, Vlade, Christie and the 6th man! My favorite Kings player growing up was Gerald Wallace, I would always watch to the end of games just to see if my favorite high-flyer would get into the game for even a minute or two! We made it through the Donaghy travesty, the Maloof monstrosity, "Here WE Stay", and we are climbing our way back to the top! "If you don't like that you don't like KINGS basketball!" GO KINGS!
https://sites.google.com/view/tomwittsportsblog/tomtoowitty-sports-blog
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