Hield scores 29 in NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge
Bahamian Chavano “Buddy” Hield had mixed results this past weekend, representing the Sacramento Kings in two events during the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, California.
On Friday, Hield poured in a game-high 29 points, including of five three pointers, to lead the way for Team World in a 155-124 victory over the American team in the NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge.
It was Hield’s second time competing in the annual showcase of the NBA’s top rookies and second-year players, which again served as the opening event involving NBA players during the three-day all-star festivities. In last year’s Rising Stars Challenge, Hield had 28 points.
“You know, it was an all-star game, so it wasn’t like a really competitive game, but the world has been getting better,” Hield said. “I’m proud to see a lot of guys around the world from France, Australia; you have Joel Embiid from Cameroon. Everybody is showing progress, catching up to American basketball. This shows how hard we’ve been working and how dedicated we are to this game.”
Hield’s teammate, Bogdan Bagdanovic, scored 26 points and was named the game’s most valuable player (MVP), as voted by the fans. Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown had 35 points to lead the way for the U.S. This will be Hield’s last year being eligible to compete in the rising stars challenge.
After a strong showing in the five-on-five exhibition, Hield’s luck changed for the worst on Saturday, as the 6-foot-5 wingman lost in the first round of the Taco Bell Skills Challenge to Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Hield’s chance to advance came down to a three pointer at the top of the key, the spot where he has made most of his threes this season, but Dinwiddie made the shot first. Hield was ahead throughout most of the round. Dinwiddie went on to win the title, defeating the Chicago Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen in the final.
“I had a good game plan. I just didn’t make the shot, an easy one,” Hield said. “It was good fun – something you didn’t believe would happen in your lifetime, so embrace it and thank God for me being here. I’m just having fun and I’m glad I’m done with it do I can relax a little bit.”
Now that the all-star weekend festivities are behind him, Hield said he can now go back to focusing on the regular season. With just 28 games remaining, it’s unlikely that the Kings will advance to the playoffs in April. Hield is currently averaging 12.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.