“The Gunslinger (Part II)”: Buddy Hield Prospect Profile

buddy hield nba
Once a mid first-rounder, Buddy Hield is now in the discussion for a top 3 selection. (Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports)

Buddy Hield (Senior, Oklahoma)

Shooting Guard/6’4/215/Age: 22

Product of…Sunrise Christian Academy (Wichita, KS) via Freeport, Bahamas

Quick Stats

25 points/game, 5.7 rebounds/game, 2 assists/game

Last year, we prematurely featured Buddy Hield’s draft profile. During the article, the fast-talking gunslinger is depicted as a 3-point specialist/role player. What a difference a year makes!

The Naismith & Wooden Award winner this past season, Hield is now seen as a potential top-5 pick after torching the Big 12 with a trail of explosive, scoring performances. At some point, stopping Buddy became every team’s primary objective – a few nights, Buddy was neck and neck with the opposing team’s point total and carried the Sooners to victory.

Cut can Buddy parlay that success into the NBA? His scoring and long-range ability should translate without too much trouble but shoring up some defensive deficiencies & improving shot selection would greatly help.

Best Case: Buddy’s a new-age Ray Allen with tad more responsibility as a shot creator and play initiator.

Worst Case: Uhh, Jodie Meeks?

Hield figures more towards the former but maintaining maximum aggression is vital.

NBA Skills: Outside shooting, instant offense

Strengths:

-DEADLY outside shooter – top long-range marksman in the 2016 Draft class (46% from deep on nearly nine attempts/game); excellent balance, consistent release point, deep range

-More than just a sniper; Buddy feverishly worked on developing a (now) reliable in-between game that features dribble pull-ups, quick floaters, slick finishes at the rim; vastly improved as a shot creator and ball-handler

-Good rebounder (over 5/night as a senior) for his size (6’4); excellent wingspan makes up for lack of height; frequently in the mix for steals

buddy hield prospect
(USA TODAY Sports)

Weaknesses:

-Solid defender but will need to prove he can handle bigger guards on the perimeter; quick hands but has to dig down a bit more to stand his ground in the post

-Decent playmaker, though Buddy is loose with the ball at times; had to carry the load at Oklahoma – can he seamlessly adjust to a lessened role in the NBA?

-Can he control an NBA offense and make sound reads out of the PnR? – never averaged more than 2 assists with the Sooners

NBA DOG Status: Star UnderDOG

Buddy Hield will at leasttt be decent in the NBA riding his deadly jumper on its own. But when you begin to explore his junior-to-senior year improvement, leadership and varied offensive game with a live ball, there’s reason to believe he can become a 20-22 points/game scorer at some point. 

The main pitfall Buddy needs to avoid is falling into what’s plagued a guy like Doug McDermott to this point: becoming pigeonholed as shooting specialist, rather than play initiator or creator. Now, Hield is a bit different because he’s a capable defender and is more than comfortable getting his own shot.
But if minutes aren’t plentiful from Day 1 (realistically could fight for PT if drafted by a team like Boston at number 3), his defense and activity level should be effective enough to warrant a lot of opportunity. Because once the gunslinger has a rhythm, the rest will take care of itself. 

NBA Comparison: Ray Allen (BEST CASE)/Jodie Meeks (Worst Case)

#DOFGAME #DOG

-Jabari J.

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