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Is Buddy Hield an all-star?

The way Bahamian Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield is playing, he’s being talked about in a number of circles, both locally and internationally, about being a potential all-star – and that’s huge considering the guard talent in the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). There’s Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard and DeMar DeRozan just to name a few.

It’s unlikely more than five guards will represent the west at the 68th NBA All-Star Game, set for Sunday, February 17 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Still, one could not ignore Hield’s numbers.

He’s averaging career-high numbers almost across the board and has developed into one of the league’s most deadliest shooters and exciting young players. Hield is averaging 20.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range. Among shooting guards, he ranks second in three-point goals, fourth in three-point shooting, fifth in rebounding and 10th in scoring. Just former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Curry is shooting a better percentage from distance with a greater volume of shots.

“I definitely know what Buddy can do for us,” Kings’ point guard De’Aaron Fox told the Sacramento Bee, a daily newspaper in Sacramento, California. “He can go on a run and get six, seven, eight, 10 points by himself. We know what he can do and he’s out there proving he can be one of the best scorers in the league. A lot of people haven’t given him the respect he deserves, but he can score the ball with the best of them.”

Hield’s running mate Fox is blossoming into one of the league’s most dynamic point guards. Together, they have led the Sacramento Kings to an 18-15 win-loss record and on the doorstep of contending for a playoff spot. Going into last night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, they were tied for seventh in the NBA’s Western Conference. If successful in advancing to the playoffs, it would be the first time in 12 seasons for the Kings – the longest drought in the NBA. Just the top eight make the playoffs in each conference.

Hield and Fox is arguably the league’s best backcourt 26 years of age or younger. The Kings have started an online campaign to get both of them into next year’s all-star game. Two videos which were released on Christmas day highlight the skills, passion and drive the two young players bring to the Kings.

In the fan voting process, Bahamians could vote for Hield at the website NBA.com/vote and with the NBA App (available on Android and iOS). Special giveaways will happen at select Kings home games in January before the voting period ends. Voting will conclude on Monday January 21 at 11:59 p.m. This season’s process will feature five “two-for-one days” which will allow fans to have their votes count twice on selected days – January 3, January 4, January 10, January 11 and January 21 through all voting platforms (Google, NBA.com/vote and the NBA App).

Fan voting updates will be shared on Thursday January 3, Thursday January 10 and Thursday January 17. All-star starters and team captains will be announced live on TNT (Turner Network Television) on Thursday January 24, during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m., featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith. The Eastern Conference and Western Conference all-star reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, will be announced the following week on Thursday January 31.

When the season started, it still wasn’t determined if Hield would be the regular starter or a role player off the bench. In turn, he has started every game for the Kings this season and is putting up impressive numbers, particularly recently.

Over the last six games, Hield has averaged 28.2 points and launched 70 three-point attempts, shooting 45.7 percent from beyond the arc. He recorded a career-high during that streak, exploding for 37 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and is averaging five three-point shots per game during that stretch.

“Buddy Hield continues to amaze,” Kings’ Head Coach Dave Joerger said.

In his last two games, prior to last night, Hield keyed huge second-half runs to help the Kings overcome 19-point deficits in back-to-back victories over the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans. The Kings are the first team since the Indiana Pacers in 2010 to win consecutive games after trailing by 19 in each. He scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half against New Orleans, including a big three-pointer to tie the score in the fourth quarter and the go-ahead basket moments later. He had eight points in a span of 2:27 to spark a 14-0 scoring run against the team that drafted him in 2016.

Kings’ small forward Justin Jackson said to the Sacramento Bee: “I know he can score the mess out of the ball, and I think he’s showing that each and every time we go out there. We rely on him to score the ball and he’s doing that each and every game. Whatever praise people want to give him, he deserves it.”

The NBA’s All-Star game will bring together some of the most talented players in the league, and is expected to reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages. TNT will televise the game for the 17th consecutive year. Spectrum Center will also host the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday February 15 and the NBA’s All-Star Saturday Night, featuring the Skills Challenge and three-point and slam dunk competitions, on Saturday February 16. Hield has been a part of the all-star festivities, whether in the Rising Stars Challenge or the Skills Challenge, in each of his first two seasons in the NBA.

The third-year guard from Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama, is averaging over 20 points for the first time in his NBA career. He has scored 20 or more points in seven straight games.

He has made 106 three-point shots for the season, and is on pace to hit 263 this year which would be a career-high for him. He hit 176 all of last year, and shot 43.1 percent from distance.

The 6’4” 26-year-old shooting guard of the Kings leads all third-year players in scoring, three-pointers made and three-point percentage among those with at least 200 attempts. He has started every game at two-guard for the Kings this season and is averaging a career-high 31.2 minutes per game.

Following a late game against the Clippers last night, Hield and the Kings will play a home-and-away series against the Los Angeles Lakers this coming weekend.

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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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