"Vivek thinks Buddy [Hield] has Steph Curry potential," a source told Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com.
Holmes reported the Kings have a "fixation" on Hield, who was the No. 6 overall pick in last June's NBA draft. The Oklahoma product's NBA career hasn't gotten off to a Curry-esque start, however, as he averaged just 8.6 points on 39.2 percent shooting and 2.9 rebounds per game with the Pelicans.
Comparisons of Hield and Curry date back to the former's senior year in Norman, which was one of the best single-season shooting performances in recent NCAA history. Hield averaged 25.0 points and 5.7 rebounds while knocking down four threes per game and winning the John R. Wooden Award for the nation's best college basketball player.
The Sooners reached the Final Four largely on the back of Hield's individual excellence, which included a 36-point outing in the round of 32 and 37 points in the Elite Eight, before eventual champion Villanova knocked them out. With Curry in the midst of rewriting the NBA's record book and Hield soaring to stardom, the comparisons were somewhat natural.
Like Hield, Curry stayed in college until he was an upperclassman. His huge scoring outbursts also served as a preview for his NBA ascent—including some notable moments leading underdog Davidson to the Elite Eight in 2008. Heading into the draft, some scouts questioned Curry's ability to create shots off the dribble because of his reliance on screens in college.
|Buddy Hield vs. The Currys|
|Steph Curry (Rookie Season)||17.5||4.5||5.9||53.5||.077|
|Seth Curry (2016-17)||11.7||2.6||2.7||56.3||.100|
That, however, is where the comparisons end. Curry was a three-year star at Davidson. Hield was a good role player during his freshman season at Oklahoma and would have been a borderline first-rounder had he come out after his junior year. His glimpses of true superstardom did not come until his senior year.
And while comparisons between the two were somewhat understandable a year ago, Hield's NBA production to date has not hinted at that type of potential. Hield has been wildly inconsistent, beginning as one of the league's worst major rotation players before settling into erratic averageness of late.
Opponents outscored the Pelicans by 7.0 points per 100 possessions with Hield on the floor this season, per Basketball-Reference. New Orleans has narrowly outscored opponents with him on the bench.
At this point, Hield compares unfavorably to Seth Curry, the former undrafted brother of Steph who has become a fine rotation player with the Dallas Mavericks. Ironically, Seth spent time with the Kings last season, but Sacramento allowed him to walk in free agency rather than re-sign him.