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Hield set to showcase skills

Although Chavano “Buddy” Hield won’t be able to shoot the ball from long distance in front of thousands of fans during the JBL Three-Point Shootout over the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) All-Star Weekend, he will still get an opportunity to compete in an individual event in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

Both the three-point shootout and skills challenge are set for February 17 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Hield replaces Utah Jazz rookie guard Donovan Mitchell, who withdrew to replace Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon in the slam dunk contest.

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis won the challenge last year in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The skills challenge features four big men and four guards who go head-to-head in an obstacle course that involves dribbling, passing and shooting. Hield will go up against Spencer Dinwiddie (Brooklyn Nets), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Al Horford (Boston Celtics), Lauri Markkanen (Chicago Bulls), Jamal Murray (Denver

Nuggets) and Lou Williams (Los Angeles Clippers).

Hield will also be playing in the Rising Stars Challenge, representing The Bahamas on Team World. He and Bogdan Bogdanovic will be the only Sacramento Kings players in the Rising Stars Challenge.

Hield has found success this season in a new role off the bench. The 6’5” wingman is averaging 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.02 steals and 24 minutes per game in 50 contests in his second season so far. He leads Sacramento with 101 three-pointers made and is tied for ninth in the NBA in three-point filed goal percentage.

The Kings still sit near the bottom of the NBA’s Western Conference standings with a 17-36 win/loss record.

Despite the Kings’ struggles this season, Hield said that both he and the team have improved.

“Right now we are a young team, but we want to get to a point where we move the ball side to side and finding shooters and making the right plays,” Hield said on Tuesday. “A lot comes with experience. We just have to keep learning and keep watching, especially on the defensive end. Once we keep on getting better, things will come in time.”

Hield and the Kings will be in action four more times before the All-Star break. Sacramento will take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks next Tuesday and the Houston Rockets next Wednesday.

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