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Hield, Ayton putting up productive numbers

Sacramento Kings’ shooting guard Bahamian Chavano “Buddy” Hield has picked up where he left off in January. Through two games in February, in two wins for the Kings, he has buried 10 three-pointers and is averaging 26 points. Hield is also averaging seven rebounds and four assists per game in February. He has already surpassed his personal record for three-pointers in a season, with 183 successful three-point shots with 29 games to go. He had 176 all of last year – his previous personal record for three-point shots in a season.

Hield is having his best season of his brief three-year career by far, and is making a serious push toward the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Most Improved Player Award this season. He has improved his shooting tremendously and is a focal point in the Kings’ offense this season.

On Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers, Hield scored 34 points on 12-for-21 shooting in a 115-108 victory for the Kings. He was 7-for-13 from distance. On Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs, he scored 18 points on 5-for-12 shooting from the field and was 3-for-8 from distance. The Kings won that game, 127-112, and occupy the ninth spot in the NBA’s Western Conference with a 28-25 win-loss record – just a game behind the Los Angeles Clippers (30-25) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the west, and one and half games ahead of the 10th place Los Angeles Lakers.

Hield’s 183 made shots from beyond the arc puts him at number four in the league behind Houston’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) James Harden (246), two-time MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors (215) and MVP candidate Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder (195).

Hield is now averaging 20.4 points per game on the season, number 27 in the league. He is shooting 47.9 percent from the field on the season and 45.9 percent from distance – third best in the league.

The Kings are on a three-game win streak.

As for the other Bahamian in the NBA, Phoenix Suns’ 7’1” center DeAndre Ayton, he recently returned to action after missing six games with an ankle injury. He injured his ankle back on January 19 against the Charlotte Hornets, but is back in the starting line-up and appears to be 100 percent healthy.

Since returning from injury, Ayton has produced a double-double in both of the games he has played in.

He logged 33 minutes in his first game back against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. The Suns lost that game 118-112. In his second game back, Ayton played 34 minutes in a 118-110 loss to the Houston Rockets. That game was played at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, on Monday night.

The rookie dropped 13 points on the Hawks and 15 on the Rockets to average 14 points in the month of February so far. He grabbed a total of 22 rebounds since coming back – 11 each in to those two games. 

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton pauses on the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, in Phoenix. AP

For the season, Ayton is averaging 16.3 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game. In rebounding, he is ranked at number 12 in the league.

Also, Ayton has shown slight improvement on the defensive side, going from 0.6 blocks per game and 0.6 steals per game in October to 1.2 blocks per game and 1.2 steals per game in January.

The 20-year-old is shooting 58.9 percent from the field, ranking him at number eight in the league.

Amongst rookies, Ayton leads in rebounds per game and double-doubles. He is second field goal percentage and minutes played and third in scoring.

The Suns bring up the rear in the western conference with a dismal 11-44 win-loss record. They have lost 11 straight games.

Hield will be participating among a star-studded line-up in the 2019 Mountain Dew Three-Point Contest during the NBA All-Star Weekend on Saturday February 16. Ayton will be a part of the Mountain Dew Ice Rising Stars Game on Friday February 15. He will represent The Bahamas on Team World as they play Team USA.

Both players were in action last night but the results of their games were unavailable up to press time.

Sports Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism
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