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Keen Draft Profiles #9: Get Buddy-Buddy

Coach Fanelli: "How are we gonna play?"

Timberwolves: “RUFF RUFF RUFF!”

Coach Fanelli: “How are we gonna play?!”

Timberwolves: “RUFF RUFF RUFF!”

Coach Fanelli: “LET’S GET ‘EM!!!!!”b

– Coach Fanelli on Buddy (Air Bud), Air Bud: Golden Receiver




Buddy Hield is the frontrunner for the Naismith Player of the Year award because of his outstanding contributions to the Oklahoma Sooners, including beating my Texas Longhorns on a buzzer beater in Norman, Oklahoma, prompting a violent tantrum that woke my elderly neighbors up (sorry, Art).

On the season, Hield has been fantastic. He’s averaged 25.0 points / 2.1 assists / 5.6 rebounds on .496 percent from the field including a .464 percent average from three. The numbers are there. And advanced stats are even more impressive. He boasts a true shooting percentage of .662(!) and a PER of 28.4. Considering his considerable usage percentage at 30.4%, his turnover percentage of 13.2% is significant


He’s an excellent shooter, and not only his numbers tell you that: he already has NBA-range from three, and has a quick, consistent release from outside. He’s not a one-trick pony as far as shooting goes, as he is great from mid-range as well. Though he doesn’t drive to the basket as much as he should, he’s steadily improving.  His shooting is on display in his game against Kansas on the road earlier this year.  His 46 points is one of the best performances in college basketball history, especially considering the situation he was in (playing at Kansas, who is, you know, 189-9 at home under Bill Self).

He had multiple games this season with 30+ points, including Oklahoma’s game against LSU and Ben Simmons earlier in the year, during which he looked to be the undisputed star. That’s saying something when playing against the consensus number-one draft pick.

On paper, there’s a lot to like with Buddy Hield. The problems come more with his size and comfortability on the floor. At only 6’4″, he’s gonna be asked to run the point eventually. Though he’s improved his handle significantly since his freshman year, even improving since his junior year, he’s not an elite ball handler, nor an above-average facilitator on offense.

For a guy with his high usage rate, 2.1 assists per game is disappointing. If he wants to succeed at the highest level, he’ll need to up his court vision and figure out how to run an offense effectively. Pure shooting is definitely a nice asset, and will make him immediately impactful, but if he wants to be a superstar, he’s going to have to improve as a facilitator. Luckily, improvement is the name of the game for Buddy Hield.

But I’ll never forgive him for being a Sooner.

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