Suns Draft Profile: Buddy Hield
The Big 12 player of the year and the number one player in my heart, Buddy Hield is one of the top guards in this draft class. The four year shooting guard out of Oklahoma averaged 25 point per game his Senior year while shooting 50.1% from the field, 45.7% from behind the college three point line, and 88% from the free throw line. Hield averaged 16.2 shots per game, with 8.7 shots averaged from behind the arc. He could score with the best of them in college, and now will attempt to continue that in the NBA as a top ten pick.
If there is one thing Buddy Hield can do, it’s score. He can score from anywhere on the court, and in a multitude of different ways. As a jump shooter, Hield can score from anywhere, with range from deep in three point range, or from within the arc. He can make his own shot off the dribble, or spot up from three point range. As a dangerous jump shooter, he can beat his man with step back moves, or with his much improved handles. Hield will make you pay for daring him to shoot, and that ability helps him take advantage of his man on drives. He can score in the paint by cutting inside, or by driving hard and finishing. Even if you guard him well on the drive, Hield can still take advantage by dropping a spin move and continuing to the hoop.
Hield is a natural compettitor, and his work ethic has helped him improve his game every year. If he can continue his progression from college, he could easily become the next great two guard. He will run the floor, and is not afraid to grab rebounds. Hield works hard everywhere on the court, and that is definitely something you want in a player.
While Hield can create, at the moment he can’t create at an NBA level.This is mainly a problem for his teammates, where most experts question if he will ever be able to be the primary ball handler on offense. His drive and kick game is currently missing the kick, which is important for a ball dominant guard. He is not nearly as comfortable driving right as he is driving left, with under 25% of his drives going to his right. This can leave him rather predictable at times on the offensive end.
The wrong team might try and convert him to a point guard due to his size. 6’4″ isn’t small, but most teams will want someone closer to 6’6″ as the two guard. Because of his average height and athleticism, he can’t guard multiple positions on defense. He will get beat by quicker guards, and abused by bigger players.
While Hield has a high floor, he might not be able to improve much more than he already has. He is already 22 years old, and will be 23 in December. He is an older player, giving him a shorter window for teams that might want to build around him. If Hield can continue to improve he can be a star, but if not, the best he can be is a bench player.
How does he fit?
The problem for Hield being drafted by a team like the Suns, is the team already has a player in the mold of Hield, and is also three years younger than him. Hield might not be able to share a backcourt with the Suns’ most important player, Devin Booker. The combo would get scorched on the defensive end, and might not be able to effectively work together on the offensive end. The only backcourt player He can probably work well with is Eric Bledsoe, but Hield won’t start over Booker or Brandon Knight. The Suns also already have a shooting guard they have been trying to convert into a backup point guard named Archie Goodwin.
If teams think Hield needs to play point to succeed in the NBA, the Suns just aren’t the team that need that right now. The Suns’ biggest holes are in the front court, and that makes the likelihood of using the number four pick on a guard highly unlikely. The best fit for a guy like Hield might be on a team with a star player in the front court, who can take the pressure off of him. Unfortunately that team just isn’t the Suns.