Hield, Kings eliminated from playoff contention
It was quite a run for Chavano “Buddy” Hield and the Sacramento Kings, trying to end the longest playoff drought in the National Basketball Association (NBA) this season, but it came to an abrupt end on Saturday with them falling on the road to James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
The Kings lost 119-108, at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, as Harden posted the fifth 50-point triple-double of his career in the Rockets win. It was also his ninth 50-point game for the season. As for the Kings, they came back the following night, on Sunday, and defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 113-106. They have a 38-39 win-loss record in the season, and will miss the playoffs for the 13th straight season — the longest drought in the NBA. They will have to win three of their last five games to finish with at least a .500 record for the first time since the 2005-06 season, the last year they made the playoffs.
What a third season in the NBA it has been for Hield though. He broke the Kings’ single season record for three-pointers, leads his team and all third-year players in scoring, has the second highest three-point percentage in the NBA among players with at least 500 attempts, and finished third in the NBA’s Three-Point Competition during the league’s all-star weekend this year.
The 6’4” guard from Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama, is averaging career high numbers almost across the board – 20.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from distance.
On Saturday night, he had 21 points on 8-for-18 shooting against the Rockets, and last night, he struck for 26 on 8-for-15 shooting against the Spurs. He was a combined 7-for-14 from three-point land in both games.
Hield and the Kings return home, and will end their season with three of their final five games at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
Earlier this season, Hield became just the fifth player in NBA history to drill more than 60 three-point shots in a single month and was just the second to do so while shooting over 50 percent from distance. At the end of the season, he will likely be in the top five in total number of three-point shots made in a season.
Hield is on pace to hit 282 three-point shots this season, which would be more than 100 higher than his previous career best of 176 from a year ago. To get to 300 three-point shots this season, he would have to average 7.8 per game for the remainder of the season. Just Curry and Harden, who just accomplished the mark this year, have hit more than 300 three-point shots in a season.
Additionally, Hield is just 14 behind Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard for most three-pointers in the first three years of a player’s NBA career. With five games to go, Hield would have to average 2.8 per game for the rest of the season to surpass Lillard, and would become the first player in NBA history to hit 600 or more three-pointers in the first three seasons of an NBA career.
Hield remains fourth in the NBA in three-pointers made this season with 261, and is eighth in three-point percentage at 42.9 percent. He broke the Kings’ single-season record for three-pointers with 10 games remaining in the season, going 7-for-14 from downtown against fellow Bahamian DeAndre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns. The old record of 240 was set by former Kings’ sharp shooter Peja Stojakovic, who is now an assistant general manager with Sacramento, and was in attendance that night. Stojakovic’s record stood for 15 years.
Meanwhile, fellow Bahamian Ayton has gone on to break the Suns’ rookie record for double-doubles in a season. He had 14 points and 10 rebounds against the Washington Wizards to break the record last Wednesday, and then followed that up with 17 points and 13 rebounds against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. He now has 39 double-doubles this season, breaking Alvan Adams former record of 37 that stood for 43 years.
For the season, Ayton is at 16.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game this season, while shooting 58.5 percent from the floor. He is the only rookie in the NBA averaging a double-double this season, and has one of the highest field goal percentages among rookies in the history of the game.
Ayton and the Suns have a 17-60 win-loss record, worst in the Western Conference of the NBA. They are currently in the middle of a five-game home-stand, and will end the season with a two-game Texas road trip, at Houston and at Dallas.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting