Buddy Hield stood tall amongst his peers during the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. He scored 28 points while putting on for both the Bahamas and New Orleans Pelicans. Now he looks to carry that momentum into the second half of his rookie year.
In a game that best showcases the top young talent in the NBA, Buddy Hield, the Bahamas native and New Orleans representative, stood tall and proved he more than belonged.
He went 11-for-22 from the field for 28 points while leading all scores at halftime and most of the game.
From the moment the game started, Hield was aggressive and active. He took a handoff from Kristap Porzingis, confidently drove through the lane and opened the game with the first points scored. He was just heating up.
Whether it was catching long-distance lobs, driving inside, cutting to the rim or nailing threes from all over the court, Buddy Hield was as confident as he’s looked all year and more importantly, he was having fun.
The World team took a 77-66 took a lead into halftime while Hield’s 19 points led both teams and earned him the halftime interview.
While Hield was showcasing his lead guard skills, fellow international rookie Jamal Murray got scorching hot from outside.
With about eight minutes left in the game, the US team held a 121-115 lead over the World team. That is, until Jamal Murray went straight up unconscious with 25 points in the last eight minutes. He put the World team back on top while drilling nine threes on the night for 36 points and snagging the MVP award in the process.
Hield is averaging 8.6 points, 1.4 assist and 2.9 rebounds during the Pelicans’ first 57 games of the season. He’s shooting a sub-40 percent 39.2 percent from the field overall; but is hitting from three at a decent rate 36.9 percent.
Afterwords, Buddy Hield spoke about the experience and how it may translate to the latter part of the NBA season.
Like most rookies, Hield is having an up and down rookie year. In his first 19 games during the months of October and November, Hield averaged 7.0 points per game while shooting 35.4 percent from the field while only shooting 23.7 from three.
During that span in October and November, Hield started one game and played 16.7 minutes per contest.
In December, Buddy Hield found his way into the starting lineup due to injuries in the backcourt and played well enough for head coach Alvin Gentry to leave him in that role. He played about 22 minutes per game. His scoring increased to 10.6 points a game. His overall shooting percentage went up to 43.5 percent and his three-point shooting skyrocketed to 47.8 percent.
Since the beginning of January until the All-Star break, Hield has come back down to earth a bit. His scoring is back down to 8.5 points per game. He’s still playing 22 minutes a game but his overall shooting has dipped back to a sub-40 percentage of 38.8. However, he’s still shooting a high percentage from three at 39.6 percent and continues to look comfortable from beyond the arc.