Buddy Hield is a shooting guard from the University of Oklahoma. Hield is 6’4 with a wingspan of 6’8. For the season, Hield averaged, 35.4 minutes per game, 25.0 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, 2.0 assist per game, 1.1 steals per game, while shooting 50.1% from the field, and 45.7% from three.
- Three point marksman
- Quick release
- Efficient scorer
- Excellent free throw shooter
- Can create his own shot
- Finds open teammates
- Good ball handler
- Quick hands
- Good, but not elite defender
- Good rebounding guard
- Very athletic
- Hustle player
- Excellent conditioning level
- Complete player
- Can be controlling of the basketball on offense
- Needs to add more moves to his offensive repertoire
- Turnover prone
- Questionable ceiling
Overall: Looking at Buddy Hield’s college career, it was hard not to root for him to succeed. Hield showed amazing work ethic during the offseason, and throughout the season to improve from a bench player his freshman season, to a potential top five pick in the 2016 NBA draft.
One the offensive side of the ball, Hield is known for his shooting, which he can torch you from deep. The only downside to his three point shooting, is that is does not go into the paint, and draw much contact to get to the line. This notion of shooting from the perimeter often leads to Hield forcing some shots. His ability to slice through the defense has many people believing that he could turn into a James Harden type player if he is able to attack the rim more often, as he only averages about five attempts per game, but makes them at a 88.0% rate. Hield was the main guy at Oklahoma, and for this reason, he was the primary ball handler. His handle skills continue to improve, but at the next level he will need to keep improving his awareness of finding teammates, as he will not be able to do everything anymore. He uses his handling skills, matched with his speed to create space between him and his opponents, which allows for him to get his shots off cleanly.
Defensively, Hield is a solid player. With as much work as you see him do on the offensive side of the ball, you would think he would slouch on the other end, but he is always trying to control his man. Hield uses his quick feet, and lengthy wingspan to disrupt passing lanes, and keep his man in front of him. Due to playing such a high volume of minutes for Oklahoma, and being leaned on for almost everything, Hield can struggle with consistency on this end, and take some risks. He does struggle with screens, and fighting through them, but he is one of the best players in the country closing out on shooters. Hield is also a willing rebounder, using his tracking ability really well. Hield’s defensive rebounding ability helps make him deadly in transition as well. He does not get a lot of offensive rebounds, as he shoots a lot of jumpers. At the next level, Hield would likely not being playing these types of minutes to start off, so this side of the ball could improve even more.
Overall, Hield is a solid two-way player, with the potential for greatness at the next level. Many people will knock him down for his size, but his ability to separate, and create his own shot should allow for this to be a limited factor at the next level. He will have the ability to step in from day one, and be a devastating offensive punch. Many coaches would be ecstatic to work with such a willing learner, and the gym rat he is. As mentioned before, Hield is a question mark on defense. He will be an above-average defender at the next level, but with less pressure of him on the offensive side of the ball, this can transition to even more awareness of defense and set him a better future from this side of the ball. His ceiling is a bit of a mystery, as his work ethic shows there is still room for improvement, but almost 23, some wonder how much he has left to grow. Hield’s draft range is a bit of a mystery. His stock started off in the mid-twenties to start the season, but after his terrific play, Hield is now looked at as high as third overall in some mocks. Depending on how the lottery plays out, almost every team in the top ten will have their eyes on Hield, viewing him as an excellent consolation prize if they do not land Brandon Ingram or Ben Simmons.
Pro Comparison: C.J. McCollum
This will be a floor comparison for Buddy Hield. As I mentioned above in his offensive summary, if Hield becomes a willing attacker of the rim, he could morph into a star similar to James Harden. For now, Hield and McCollum show a lot of similarities coming out of college. Neither player was looked at greatly because of their size, but their athletic ability and shooting kept them high in the draft.
Offensively, McCollum and Hield were both known for their ball dominance at the two guard position, but both have tremendous knowledge and are able to lead the offense by themselves. Both are deadly from the three point line, but also very efficient in pick-and-roll, or isolation situations. McCollum keeps improving his intensity to getting to the line, which lead to his rise in scoring and overall play, which translated to winning Most Improved Player for the 2015-2016 season. Hield can follow a similar path to McCollum’s soon to be stardom. Although both players are proven scorers, they have the awareness to create for their teammates, and give them open looks.
On the defensive side of the ball, Hield is clearly the better player coming out of college. McCollum has shown improvements in his early career in Portland, but nothing to put him above average. Hield is also a more willing rebounder on the defensive side of the ball, which leads to him getting more involved in the transition offense. Hield also shows to be more active defensively with his higher block and steal average.
Overall, Hield has the potential to be a star at the next level. He may need a season or two to adjust to his new role in the league, but do not count him out. His work ethic, athletic ability, and shooting stroke will keep him in the league for a very long time. These were the same things being said about McCollum coming out of Lehigh a few years ago, and now look how far he has come.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17