Buddy Hield: Big Time or Waste of Time?


Jayden Davis, Staff Writer

The 2015-2016 NBA season is approaching its end very quickly, and so is the draft. The NBA draft, where dreams come true for many young and aspiring college basketball players and the beginnings of many life journeys spark. You never know what could come in the future of some of these kids’ careers when it’s all said and done. Players like Kawhi Leonard, Kobe Bryant and Manu Ginobili weren’t high draft picks but have proved themselves to be great NBA players.

However, not every journey comes to a happy end. Many players in the past have been drafted high with extreme expectations but never lived up to them throughout their careers. Players such as Kwame Brown, Greg Oden, Jimmer Fredette and Sam Bowie grew to be nothing more than a bust.

This year many fans, players and experts all together have had very diverse opinions and expectations for many players, like the potential superstar Ben Simmons or the “next Kevin Durant”, Brandon Ingram. The recent emergence of Oklahoma University’s Buddy Hield during the NCAA March Madness tournament has seem to put him over the top as the best player in this year’s draft.


Recently, the debate of who is the better player between LSU’s Ben Simmons and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield has grown in popularity. Thanks to Buddy’s emergence through the March Madness tournament, winning both the Naismith and John Wooden awards, he has become a national icon, and with that, has been able to raise his draft stock. However, is the popularity enough? Is Buddy Hield REALLY the best player coming into this draft?



There is no question Buddy Hield has improved and came a long way since his freshman year. Hield is one of the best examples of players staying all four years in college to develop their game and mature as both a basketball player and a man. Thanks to the maturation of his game he was able to become, statistically, the best player of the NCAA 15-16 season. However, the focus of his strengths are the quality of his improvements, not the quantity.


Contrary to the popular one-and-done decision by collegiate athletes, a handful of 3-4 year players declare for the draft every year. Buddy Hield is one, as he declares for the draft after his senior year, giving him an experience and basketball IQ advantage over the younger prospects in the draft.

His development can be seen through his season averages year-by-year. He has been able to post career highs in categories across the board. Most notably would be his 7.5 points per game jump since last season, followed by his 8% jump in field goal percentage and the 9% jump in his three-point percentage.

Jump Shooting


Coming into the NBA, one of the most important assets to one’s game, is their ability to shoot from the perimeter. Saying Hield can shoot is like stating that the sky is blue, it’s an obviously true statement. Buddy’s shooting touch will give him a boost in his draft stock as he has proved his ability by scoring most of his points off his jumper.

One of Buddy’s go-to moves is the pull-up jumper off the dribble, 28.3% of his offense consisted of this move. Out of his 80 attempts this season he has averaged scoring 0.8 points per possession when using this move.



Buddy Hield has had low quantity but high quality improvements but where the potential of him being a bust comes from, is the high number of weaknesses in his game. In other words, Buddy’s weaknesses outweigh the strengths of his game in terms of skill, physical attributes and his long-term upside.


Buddy Hield’s potential has been overrated since the beginning of the season with his comparisons to NBA greats like Ray Allen and even Stephen Curry. The more intelligent argument that some NBA scouts and analyst have stated, is that, the fact that it took four years of college basketball just to reach the point where he’s at now. His status he has reached to this point (with more weaknesses than strengths to his game) hasn’t even gotten him in the top 5 of NBA analyst’s mock drafts. Already at age 22, is Buddy Hield’s growth in the NBA going to take as long as it has throughout his college career?

The average NBA player over the decades has grown to be taller, longer, faster, and stronger. Buddy Hield is both shorter than the average starting shooting guard in the NBA and has a shorter wingspan. Majority of the highest rated shooting guards in the NBA are above 6’6” and have 6’10” wingspans, making the defense that will be played on Hield, much tougher than the college defenders he averaged 25 points against.

Decision Making

One of Hield’s worst weaknesses to his game is his decision making in the shots he takes and the passes he attempts. Although he showed great improvement in his jump shot on his “off the dribble jumper”, many of those attempts were contested and taken in early shot clock situations. Although he had multiple games where he could make many contested shots, the bigger, longer, quicker and smarter NBA defenders won’t allow Hield to get off such easy looks.
Hield is not known for being a playmaker, shown by his average of 2.1 assists per game. When the defense locks in on Hield, forcing him to make a play, he will force passes, leading to turnovers. Buddy averaged 3.1 turnovers per game this year, his college career high.


In order for one to become a star in the NBA in today’s highlight-filled game, you must have such a versatility to your game including more than just a jump shot. Today’s top shooting guards not only share the ability to shoot but they have the handle to score inside and create their own shot from anywhere on the floor.

Buddy Hield lacks this ability, he cannot create his own shot and does not have the handle to get himself to the basket in more than one way. This will make him easy to defend in one-on-one situations. Because he lacks such an important ability, will make him a limited player, offensively, making him extremely predictable and easy to defend.

Inside Scoring

Buddy Hield has an amazing ability to score from the perimeter but is that enough? Although this is a new era of basketball coming into form where shooters and their value are rapidly growing, inside scoring is now a rare skill to find. Hield does not have the skill, touch, or athleticism to be a great inside scorer.

This is one of Buddy’s biggest flaws. He can only get to the basket in one way, driving to the basket in a straight line, even then, because of his size isn’t good enough at the NBA level. Buddy Hield has awful touch near the basket, missing too many layups and taking to many ill-advised floaters (14/43 (33%) in his last two seasons).

The NBA’s post players are now at an average 7’0” tall with wingspans beyond that. Take Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert for example, standing 7’2” tall with a wingspan of 7’9” long. Hield, just in college basketball, gets swallowed up in the paint way too often. With his lack of explosiveness, touch and ability to get off clean shot’s will make him a non-factor in the NBA. Buddy Hield in his last season shot a below average 47% when near the basket. Although Buddy has improved his footwork he has not yet developed his off-hand or the ability to get to the free throw line at an above-average rate.


Buddy Hield has never proven to be a playmaker because that’s just simply not his game. It’s not a much needed ability at his position but is still a weakness to his game overall. His senior year was his best year in assists at just 2.1 per game. If there’s anything in terms of playmaking that Hieldmust improve on, it would be reducing his turnovers.BHPR


In the NBA, like earlier, you must be versatile to become a long-term consistent star/success in the league. Buddy Hield is in such way, a 2-way player, meaning despite his great shooting ability, he is nonexistent on the defensive side of the floor.

When playing defense, Hield has the foot quickness to stay with his player laterally but doesn’t have the size and strength to stay in front of players when driving. In isolation situations, Buddy has difficulty staying in front of the defender especially in P&R situations. When playing defense off the ball, Hield quickly becomes a ball-watcher, losing shooters and allowing backdoor cuts more often than he should.


Buddy Hield is a very talented player offensively, but is the ability to shoot going to be enough by itself to make him what everyone believes he will be? I, myself do not believe so. Buddy’s weaknesses completely outweigh his strengths. In the NBA, you must be versatile and that is something the college superstar is not. His upside is not very high, he does not play good enough defense and does not have an offensive arsenal suited for the NBA to be where he wants to be. I have no doubt he will get drafted highly, I predict that he will be picked 6th or 7th but we have seen draft busts before. Buddy Hield at the lowest, will be another Jimmer Fredette, at the highest, an Eric Gordon type player. I believe, unlike many, Buddy Hield will be somewhat of a bust in the NBA, but I also believe Ben Simmons has the potential to be the best player in the NBA in less than a decade.