When discussing the upcoming NBA Draft, the conversation seems to always be about Buddy Hield and his rising stock. The shooting guard out of Oklahoma was the best player in the country during the 2015-16 season and he didn't disappoint in the NCAA Tournament, leading the Sooners to the Final Four, where unfortunately they were dismantled by eventual champion Villanova. Nevertheless, Hield was awesome his entire senior season, averaging 25 points, 5.7 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and he shot an impressive 46% from three (50% overall).
Hield was a very good player for three years at Oklahoma, but his improvement from his junior to senior year was unusual. Hield was always a good outside shooter, but he improved his driving ability, handle, and got better using both hands, at times looking like a younger Russell Westbrook. Hield is an excellent athlete, and he's also in great condition, which is key for great players. If you can outplay your opponent in the fourth because they just can't run with you, that's a skill in itself.
Hield was a good defender at Oklahoma, but he is going to face some challenges in the NBA because he's only 6'4, small for his position. Hield does have 6'8 wingspan, and he's so quick and strong that he makes up for his height deficiencies by being super-active. Hield's rebounding ability can't be ignored either; with the game changing and more small-ball being played, it is crucial to identify guards and wings that are willing rebounders.
Many scouts do question if Hield is going to struggle because of his size, but his athleticism, drive, strength, and awareness should allow him to overcome the height difference he'll face in the NBA. Hield could end up being moved to the point, and although his handle and court vision have improved, he still isn't a true point guard. Hield draws comparisons to many different players, but the truth is Hield is developing a style of his own, and he plans on taking his sharp-shooting to the NBA and contributing immediately.
Boston might not make a lot of sense if you look at how their roster is constituted currently, but there is no telling what Danny Ainge will do to obtain a superstar, and this summer seems like the time to do it. If Boston is able to entice two max free agents, they'll keep their top pick they acquired from Brooklyn, and in that scenario, Hield might be the right guy to select. It doesn't make sense for the Celtics to draft another guard unless they plan on moving Smart, Bradley, or Rozier; the NBA isn't a 6'5 and under league. Whatever team does end up with Hield will love his explosive scoring, never-ending motor, and awesome attitude.
Who knows, maybe it will be the Celtics.
Statistics Provided by Sports Reference.com/College Basketball
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