Sports

Hield voices displeasure after Kings’ eighth straight loss

Mired in an eight-game losing streak, Bahamian professional basketball player with the Sacramento Kings Chavano “Buddy” Hield is obviously frustrated and is voicing his opinion.

The 27-year-old fourth-year shooting guard in the National Basketball Association (NBA) is matching last year’s production for the Kings, but that franchise has been taken aback with losses to key players due to injuries this season, and they have struggled to get it together as a result.

The Kings dropped to a woeful 12-22 win-loss record in the NBA with their latest loss – 13th in the Western Conference of the NBA. Just the top eight advance to the playoffs. It’s been a trying season, dropping their first five, losing five out of six in another stretch, and now losing eight in a row and nine out of 10.

Meanwhile, Hield is putting up similar numbers to a year ago when he led the Kings in a number of key stats and helped them to achieve a progressive season – one in which they finished ninth in the west and improved on the previous season’s win total by a dozen games. At their current rate of progression, the Kings will fall far short of their goal of making the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons – the longest drought in the NBA.

Hield is averaging 20.2 points, five rebounds and 3.1 assists per game this season – similar to the 20.7, 5.0 and 2.5 stat line he put up a year ago. He had 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists in a 105-87 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on New Year’s Eve.

Following that home loss to the Clippers on Tuesday, Hield is calling for his team to “run with” dynamic point guard De’Aaron Fox more. Fox, who returned from injury in mid-December, appears to be working himself back into shape. He had just nine points on 3-for-10 shooting in that loss to the Clippers.

Hield has voiced his displeasure about his team’s lack of fight during this brutal stretch.

“It’s terrible. The product we put on the floor is not 10 games below .500, we’re way better than that. Obviously we’re not winning games to show that. We’re way better than this and we need to figure it out,” said Hield, according to Jason Jones of the Athletic, a subscription-based sports website covering the Kings.

After overcoming an 0-5 start this season, Hield and the Kings began to look like a much-improved team, securing wins over formidable teams like the Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets. However, they slid back into an abyss, dropping eight straight and falling to 13th in the west.

With a group laden with talented, young, explosive players, Hield is of the view that his team should be making an effort to push the tempo more and run their offense through speedy point guard Fox.

“It’s on Fox, it’s on everybody, it’s on everybody man. We have to run with Fox. We have to encourage getting the ball out quick, pushing the tempo with Fox,” added Hield.

Fox, 22, is averaging 17.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists this season while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 32 percent from behind the three-point line. Just when the Kings looked to have gained some momentum, Fox missed considerable time with a grade three ankle sprain. He returned for the Kings final two games of 2019.

Hield has been shouldering the load for much of the season. Last season, he finished fourth in the entire league in made three-pointers with 278 which was a new franchise record and the seventh-most prolific performance from downtown in a season in NBA history. This season, he is on pace to surpass that total, averaging a career-high 3.6 made three pointers per game. Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden (378), Golden State Warriors’ guard Stephen Curry (354) and Los Angeles Clippers’ forward Paul George (292) were the only players to hit more three-pointers than Hield last season.

The Kings are back in action this evening, taking on the Memphis Grizzlies at home, inside the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. They will take on the New Orleans Pelicans at home on Saturday, and then end their mini three-game homestand against the Golden State Warriors on Monday. 

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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