Buddy Hield is a 6’4” guard who played all four years of college ball at Oklahoma. Even though he selected second team All-Big 12 during his sophomore year, Big 12 Player of the Year his junior year; his breakout year was his last. As a senior, he was selected as a consensus first-team All-American by the AP, USBWA, NABC and won the 2016 Wooden Award, Naismith and Oscar Robertson Trophy as the national player of the year, being the first OU player to do so since Blake Griffin in 2009.
The 22-year old’s play on the court last year earned him to be considered the best college player of the year and a top 10 pick in the draft. His ability to score and an NBA range outside shooting has earned him comparisons to CJ McCollum and James Harden. This fits really well in the Bucks plans as they are in heavy need for an outside shooter. His size is a major knock to his draft stock as his skill related to that have prevented him from being considered on the level of a Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, but the one thing that has captured many NBA scouts interest is the man’s passion and heart as he’s done so much over the past year to improve his game.
-Shooting: This is the biggest thing that made Hield the top college player of 2015-2016. During his senior year he averaged 25 points a game, making 50 percent of his shots from the field and garnering an impressive 46 percent three point percentage. He showcases NBA range and his ability requires a player needing to guard him out to 26 feet away from the hoop. His 3-point ability has really impressed fans and scouts throughout the NBA after being reported making 85-100 three pointers at a workout for the Boston Celtics. Even though he’s only 6’4”, his 6’8.5” wingspan gives him a solid advantage shooting over larger defenders. Shooting and the ability to spread the opposing defense is the number one thing the Bucks need and the addition of Hield will easily help the Bucks out.
-Defense: Despite his size and the offensive load he carried for Oklahoma he is solid defensively. Hield has shown to play hard all season and his wingspan along with his quick hands gave him an impressive 42 steals and 18 blocks during his senior year. Transitioning to the NBA, he is not considered an elite defender but he is more than physically capable, which is a major thing to have for any NBA prospect. Additionally, he quietly averaged almost six rebounds a game.
Heart: Arguably, Hield has the greatest work ethic and desire to improve among any prospect in this year’s draft. A testament to his work ethic is he reportedly shoots 500-700 jumpers a session outside of practice. He was the recipient of Oklahoma’s most inspirational player award after breaking his right foot Feb. 11 during his freshman year. After only averaging 8 points a game with a 39 field goal percentage that year he came back his sophomore year averaging 16.5 points a game with a 44.5 field goal percentage. We already know what he did and the numbers he produced in his senior year as he single handily led his team to the final four of the NCAA Tournament. In his younger years, Hield was a bit predictable only taking jump shots but he put in the work to improve his handle and ability to slash to the basket in which he got to the charity strip twice as much during his last season at Oklahoma.
Size and Running an Offense: Despite his work ethic and shooting ability, it’s still the NBA and Hield’s size is his biggest weakness. Because of his scoring tendency and ability Hield is shooting guard, being undersized for that position in the NBA. Because of his size, Hield will have to become a combo guard mostly running the point, thus an NBA offense and that’s a large concern. He significantly improved his handle throughout college but he’ll have to even more in order to become an effective point guard in the league. During his days at Oklahoma Hield carried probably the biggest offensive burden than any one player in the country but because of that he was turnover prone and didn’t pass the ball a lot. He carried the offensive burden so much he averaged more turnovers a game (3) than assists (2). Hield will probably never carry that same burden as a professional player, especially in his younger years but the lack of experience of running a pro offense, distributing the ball is concern.
Predictability: Again, Hield’s bread and butter is his tremendous shooting ability. Because of this his game is very predictable to opposing defenses. As mentioned before, he significantly improved his slashing ability and handle’s from his earlier years to his senior, but he’ll have to even more to reach his true ceiling in the NBA. If he can do this along with becoming accustomed to running an NBA offense this will set him apart from just being a role player that can shoot very well.
What He Can Bring to Milwaukee:
If Buddy Hield is selected by the Milwaukee Bucks, expect him to begin as a scorer off the bench either in the early part or the entirety of his rookie season, depending on his development of transitioning into a point guard. Khris Middleton is already the Bucks shooting guard but I truly believe that Giannis is not the Bucks long term solution for a point guard. Hield has a tremendous work ethic and he’ll do anything he can to become an NBA point guard. With one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game as his head coach, I think his development will only come quicker and better. Additionally, Hield has the ability to create his own offense which is something the Bucks have significantly missed since trading away Brandon Knight. Hield’s ceiling is if he can be comfortable running an NBA offense and if he put’s in his usual work ethic he can do that and be one of the NBA’s elite players.