Buddy Hield is probably the most electrifying player in the nation not named Ben Simmons. He shoots the basketball with unlimited range, doesn’t get shaken up by having a hand in his face, and is slowly starting to become a decent playmaker.
But here’s where the conversation gets interesting. NBADraft.net sets Hield’s pro comparison at a mix of James Harden and C.J. McCollum, meaning that he’s seen as a combination of a slasher who can also create plays for teammates on top of a pure score-first 2-guard.
That comparison is all fine and dandy, but here’s the kicker: McCollum and Harden both played for scrappy little teams that could in Arizona State and Lehigh, aka they never once even sniffed national championship contention.
Hield, on the other hand, plays for the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners and is probably going to be a finalist for the Wooden Award.
In terms of his skillset, his 25.8 points per game rank second in the nation and he is shooting an excellent 53 percent from the field, plus 52 percent from long range.
And therein lies why Hield may not be as much of a Top 10 pick as some may think. As talented as he is, he relies way too much on the three-ball. That could just be due to the fact that the college game is generally more fast-paced than the NBA, but Hield takes 16 shots per game and 8.3 of them are from beyond the arc.
In Oklahoma’s game against LSU last weekend, 15 of Hield’s 22 shots were from long range, meaning that he often tries to shoot his team out of a jam rather than take a step back and slow things down. Excellent though his percentages are, he can’t expect them to carry him in the NBA.
That all being said, here’s the best I can give re Hield’s stock. It’s going to rise so long as his team plays well but until he learns how to shoot from long range just a little bit less, he could be in for a rude awakening once the season is over.
Though his comparison to McCollum and Harden may be on the button now, it wouldn’t be shocking to see it dip to someone like Anthony Morrow.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports