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Has Buddy Hield broken out of his shooting slump?

Is Buddy Buckets back? Or is this just a temporary positive regression?

Buddy Hield had a slow start to his season. That's not entirely unusual for Buddy, as he tends to improve as the season continues (last year's Orlando Bubble notwithstanding). Buddy's worst game this year came against the Portland Trail Blazers on January 9th. In that contest Buddy shot 3 for 10 overall including 2 for 8 from beyond the arc. Buddy finished with 8 points, the first time this season he hadn't scored double digits.

Since that Portland game, Buddy has looked a lot more like Buddy Buckets. In the six contests since, Buddy has shot 43.5% from 3 on 10.3 attempts per game. He's averaged 15.8 points per game in those contests, still not quite up to the 19-20 points per game we're used to, but improved nonetheless.

If a six game sample seem arbitrary, it certainly is. But keep in mind that stretch still includes a Bad Buddy Game. On January 17th against the Clippers Buddy again scored in single digits, finishing with 9 points. He also went just 2 for 9 from three that game. So why did I choose 6 games? Because when I looked at box scores that was where I could see some semblance of a turning point.

Is this sustainable? It's impossible to say with Buddy. He's always been a streaky shooter, but now that he's abandoned everything except his three point game, he's even less consistent. It's entirely possible that this is nothing more than a few games of positive regression instead of a sign of anything being fixed.

Despite his early shooting woes, Buddy's season average from three is back up to 37.5%. After that Portland game, Buddy was sitting at 33.7% for the year.

Here's hoping this isn't just a fluke, but it's also too early to call it anything more than an interesting uptick.

 

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andy_sims
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January 25, 2021 3:11 pm

Haha “temporary positive regression.”

Is there a more negative way to say that an elite shooter has begun to hit shots at a rate close to his career average shooting percentage?

When he disappears for months at a time, we can start speculating about serious problems. In sixteen games, he’s shot threes better than his career average six times. He’s been over the league average seven times.

Hield hit a bad stretch, and that’s pretty much all there is to say.

andy_sims
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January 25, 2021 4:11 pm
Reply to  Greg

I suppose it was the word “temporary” that I didn’t understand, given his career numbers.

andy_sims
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January 25, 2021 4:39 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I do think “regression” probably only works one way, although “reversion” offers flexible ambiguity.

Carl
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January 26, 2021 10:21 am
Reply to  andy_sims

I mean, regression works both ways

Greg ruined the English language.

kings4ever
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January 27, 2021 8:07 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Exactly. Positive regression is not a real term, it is self-contradicting. You do not regress and progress simultaneously. Greg is confusing regression with reversion (to the norm / mean). I also do not understand the premise of his post. If Buddy had a breakout game, 35+ points, a string of 60% TS% games, then we could talk about slumps being over.

The best thing I can say about Buddy is that he has somewhat quelled the tendency to want to break sets, to try with futility to activate “Harden mode” or “Curry mode” where he squares up his man and tries to create his own shot.

This has coincided with Fox surging more, better balance to the offense. Fox is the better scorer. He should be shooting more. Over same 4 game stretch with Fox is shooting 19 FGAs per game and lighting it up for 26 PPG.

I commented on this last week when Fox went for 43. I think coaches got in the head of Buddy to stop forcing his shots so much on a 1-on-1 basis and feed off his PGs more.

This is what we have seen Buddy do in context of his continued overall poor play. It is not that he has broke his slump, that would require 20+ games on good effeciency. It is that he is not underminning the overall team as much with his delusional shot happy nonsense.

In the last 4 games, Buddy is averaging 11.5 FGAs per game. In the first 10 games or so, Buddy was shooting about 15 FGAs per game. I would suggest he is cut out out about 3-4 crap shots per game.

To break a slump you have to be more selective, not less selective. Then when you are getting cleaner looks and improving your effeciency, then you can look to be more aggressive.

I don’t know if Buddy being heavier / stronger is an impediment, but he does not seem to be able to create space as well as before. He may need to lean out more, I am not sure.

His play is discouraging if he turns in 12 FGA per game player. At his peak over two seasons prior to landing (bilking?) his 90M , he shot 16 FGA per game. But if he cannot get good shots anymore because he lacks the ability to separate, then he is basically a 14-16 PPG player with crappy defense.

Buddy continues to be the biggest problem on this team, just lesser of an eye sore, and that is saying something with Marvin manning the starting PF.

Jman1949
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January 25, 2021 4:18 pm
Reply to  Greg

Being mean about the meaning

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1951
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January 25, 2021 3:47 pm

Translation: Haliburton’s backup is shooting a bit better lately.

BrazilianRare
January 25, 2021 5:39 pm

Everyone asking themselves if Fox is really a max player, remember he’s improving year after year AND he’s playing 80% of his career alongside one of the most mediocre overall shooting guards in this league: Hield.

Wait until he starts to play with a real player, who can/want throw lobs to him, who will not let him down on the defense end, and will not talk crap to the media in order to get a paycheck or play time.

Btw, the Sacramento media, the fans, they are too soft with this bums.

On interviews I ALWAYS wait for a repórter to go: hey buddy, you have peculiar ways to demand your contract, and since then you don’t see able to help your team win…or…hey Buddy, what happened to your mid range shot? Are you afraid of injuries thats why you don’t charge fouls to get points in the line? Or..hey Buddy, you still want to be traded to the Sixers as you showed us all on social media? Thats why you refused to deliver decent basketbal in the bubble?

Last edited 1 year ago by BrazilianRare
Otis
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January 25, 2021 6:50 pm
Reply to  BrazilianRare

remember he’s improving year after year 

Is he?

BrazilianRare
January 25, 2021 7:16 pm
Reply to  Otis

Yes, he is.

Otis
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January 25, 2021 7:23 pm
Reply to  BrazilianRare

Oh, good to know. Guess it’s just his team that’s worse.

BrazilianRare
January 25, 2021 7:37 pm
Reply to  Otis

Thats the Point:

He’s improving, although hes back court partner is regressing (what about this brand new 3-point-only-regimen? Thats encouraging!) and they changed a good/standard coach to a really weak coach…

Otis
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January 25, 2021 7:42 pm
Reply to  BrazilianRare

Fox’s numbers are generally worse than last season though, with the same backcourt partner and the same head coach.

I’m only disagreeing with that particular part of your post. Fox (at this point) hasn’t improved over last season. He’s the focus of this team – if he’s been better, the team shouldn’t be this much worse.

BrazilianRare
January 25, 2021 7:51 pm
Reply to  Otis

But you cant compare this season with the previous yet…and Buddy is playing worse.

Otis
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January 25, 2021 7:56 pm
Reply to  BrazilianRare

Just so I’m understanding correctly – you can’t compare this season with the previous season, unless you’re talking about Buddy?

Statistically, Fox is worse than last season so far. I agree that could very well change, but he’s not improving at this point, and certainly not at one end of the floor.

BrazilianRare
January 25, 2021 8:25 pm
Reply to  Otis

You are using cold numbers to get your point…so , let wait the full season to compare numbers…
But Hield playing worse is something that every eye can see, so I can say hes playing worse compared to last season, since he’s only jacking threes all game long and doing nothing else… Dearon is in another mission, he’s trying to become the Star, and yet, is playing better ball, even if the numbers dont show

Otis
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January 26, 2021 5:05 am
Reply to  BrazilianRare

Well, we’re going in circles. I think if the team’s “best player” was improving, the team wouldn’t be far worse (to this point).

Again, that could very well change. But to say he’s playing better ball this year goes against any tangible metric you look at.

Frankly, I wonder where this team would be without Haliburton’s contribution? He’s actually accomplishing what Fox SHOULD be giving us.

Want-to-be-gm
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January 26, 2021 12:14 pm
Reply to  Otis

The team isn’t any better is true but far worse is an exaggeration. When you factor in the schedule, we are on pace to have the same record.
Management needs to define the objectives of the season. We should be in rebuilding semi tank mode and really getting a good assessment of our young players. Trying to go balls out for a late playoff seeding that’s probably unlikely isn’t the right objective to me. I love what OkC is doing right now.

kings4ever
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January 27, 2021 8:19 am
Reply to  Otis

Fox cannot simultaneously improve and team get worse when we have Buddy and Marvin often killing us on defense and offense, CoJoSlo killing the second unit ??? I do not see these variables as mutually exclusive.

Fox is a fantastic max worthhy player. His 3 ball looks like butter lately after being a eye sore. Thats improvement! And when he goes into the paint, he is dishing the punishment instead of before when he would get punished and go to the floor. Thats improvement.

He does need to do better dropping off passes to his teammates. I think he needs Whiteside on the floor with him to set the high pick and serve as a lob target. A rim protector will also enable Fox to gamble more on defense. This is where Fox needs to pick it up, more defensive impact and better assist to turnovers.

And the last comment which I made above applies which is when Buddy wrecks less possessions like he has lately with his shot happy nonsense, it allows Fox to control more possessions with favorable outcome. We have seen that lately.

Marty
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January 25, 2021 9:43 pm
Reply to  BrazilianRare

But you cant compare this season with the previous 

and yet, here we are.

Want-to-be-gm
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January 26, 2021 12:08 pm
Reply to  Otis

In terms of the eye test and watching Fox being more efficient at getting to the paint, there’s been slight improvement. He doesn’t exactly have the greatest supporting cast. Regarding Buddy, I think he is was he is at this point in his career. He’s an overpaid shooting guard with some utility but not enough to justify his contract. Lastly, I’d be careful throwing out these numbers with the limited sample sizes we have.

Otis
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January 26, 2021 3:00 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

Would you also be careful saying we shouldn’t assume Fox has improved over last year based on the limited sample sizes we have? Because that’s the post I responded to.

Want-to-be-gm
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January 26, 2021 3:46 pm
Reply to  Otis

I thought you said Fox isn’t improving so far this year. I think he’s showing some improvement whether or not it’s showing on the stat line. I could pick apart his game and point out several small areas of improvement. The point about sample sizes is a general point. Take a look at Wissingers latest post about 3’s. Lastly I agree with some of what you’re saying but this team isn’t far worse than last year, not any better yes.

Otis
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January 26, 2021 5:56 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

I thought you said the sample size was too small to make a determination?

The team is significantly worse this season. Not sure how that’s arguable. And if your “best player” hasn’t improved statistically, and the team is significantly worse, I’m struggling to see how he’s improving on an individual basis.

I mean, I like De’Aaron Fox, but so far he’s the same inconsistent guy he was last season.

Want-to-be-gm
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January 27, 2021 9:48 am
Reply to  Otis

Ok I’ll take your bait but I think you know the point. As someone who’s been involved in the game for a long time, I’m watching physical aspects of his game. I see things he’s doing better gradually on both ends of the court. The sample being too small refers to the raw numbers people love to pull up off these sites and then make grand conclusions. You are correct that he’s still to inconsistent for my liking too. He’s fundamentally better on defense and his effort level on that end has picked up. I already mentioned some things offensively. Not a dramatic difference but some improvement.
As for the team, I don’t think much has changed so far but to say the team is much worse is a fallacy.

Bill2455
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January 25, 2021 6:14 pm

There are two players in Norcal who have entirely different skill sets. So for roughly the same amount of money would you rather have Draymond Green or Buddy Hield. I know who I would choose.

TheGrantNapear
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January 25, 2021 6:46 pm
Reply to  Bill2455

Indeed Buddy is over paid by about $10-12 million a year. Good ole Vlade.

Last edited 1 year ago by TheGrantNapear
TheGrantNapear
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January 25, 2021 6:44 pm

Buddy needs to start playing better so he can get traded. He doesn’t want to be here, Kings fans don’t want him here and Vivek’s Buddy crush has likely sailed.
Find a team that will offer expirings and a mid to late first and get it over with.

Last edited 1 year ago by TheGrantNapear
Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 25, 2021 7:21 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

I really think that is easier said than done. Buddy is on the first year of an expensive extension and has a specific skillset that that is becoming far more common and inexpensive then it was just a few short years ago.

I think we need to come to the realization that the Kings will get nickels on the dollar for Buddy.

Just to paint it clearly, Orlando has Evan Fournier on an expiring $17M deal. He shoots from range that compares to Buddy, but also passes the ball better. Also, they are the same age.

Fournier also opted into that deal.

I don’t think Orlando trades Fournier straight up for Buddy. It would cost the Kings future assets to make that trade. Let that sink in.

Last edited 1 year ago by Adamsite
BrazilianRare
January 25, 2021 7:40 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

We can get Nunn from Miami…but will probably cost picks and Nemanja….

TheGrantNapear
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January 26, 2021 6:40 am
Reply to  Adamsite

So you’re saying Vlade paid a 3 point specialist star money?
i guess that’s really what it comes down to, Buddy’s overpaid about $10 million a year.
Barnes is overpaid at least $5 million a year.
He’s hamstrung this franchise nicely.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 26, 2021 8:03 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Yup, just look at the 3pt specialists on other teams anc compare this year’s salaries, age in parentheses.

Mavs, Tim Hardaway (28): $19M
Nets, Joe Harris (29): $16M
Heat, Duncan Robinson (26): $1.6M
Bucks, Pat Connaughton (28): $5M
Lakers, Caldwell-Pope (27): $12M
Magic, Fournier (28): $17M
Houston, Ben fucking McLemore (27): $2M
Jazz, Bogdanovic (31): $18M
Wiz, Davis Bertans (28): $14M
Raptors, Norman Powell (27): $11M
Hawks, Bogi (28) $18M

The average age and salaries of all these guys is 27.9 at $12.1M

Buddy is making that most by a mile at $24.4M at age 28.

OF course there are some outliers like Robinson and McLemore, but Buddy is stil the higest paid of the bunch. Now ask the question, do any of those teams trade their player for Buddy straight up?

rc50cal
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January 26, 2021 11:59 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Buddy should be paid at most what Joe Harris got paid. Vlade handed out above market contracts like cigarettes.

Kangz_Landing
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January 25, 2021 9:17 pm

No he has not broken out of his shooting slump. This is not Buddy Buckets anymore.

Buddy Buckets made 3s from anywhere, on different platforms, pull-ups and spot ups and in the clutch. He also made midrange Js, floaters, and layups. Be like Buddy Buckets.

This is Buddy Chuckets. Buddy Chuckets makes spot up, set 3s and nothing else and looks gassed on 3s in the 4th quarter. Don’t be like Buddy Chuckets.

This is not to say he is who he is, no he is struggling now, but he can still break out of it eventually. We need him to in order to get max value for him.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kangz_Landing
Carl
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January 26, 2021 10:29 am
Reply to  Kangz_Landing

Buddy Chuckets.

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Last edited 1 year ago by Carl
keith_kar
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January 26, 2021 6:02 pm
Reply to  Kangz_Landing

This season’s version of Chuckets is a far cry from season’s past.

Part of it is Buddy’s fault, and part of it is Walton’s inept offensive schemes.

keith_kar
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January 26, 2021 5:57 pm

Buddy’s broken out of his slump?

Well, he hasn’t had a breakout game yet this season.

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