NBA Insiders Believe Kings' Buddy Hield 'Looks out of Shape' in Restart Games

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2020

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) shoots a 3-point basket against Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)
Kim Klement/Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings have lost all three of their games during the NBA restart in Orlando and guard Buddy Hield has gotten a large part of the blame.  

"Several league insiders have commented that Hield looks out of shape," Tim Bontemps of ESPN reported.

Though Hield scored 21 points off the bench in Tuesday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks, he is still only averaging 13 points per game in Orlando while shooting 32.6 percent from the field. He's shooting just 8-of-29 from three-point range.

It's a steep decline from the 19.8 points per game Hield was averaging before the season was suspended in March. Even after moving to the bench in January, the guard had averaged 19.4 points in 20 games, remaining a reliable secondary scorer beyond De'Aaron Fox.

This could be a concern after he tested positive for the coronavirus. He said he was "good" in June but it's unclear whether he had any symptoms related to the virus, per Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.

At the very least, testing positive for COVID-19 could have altered his conditioning heading into the bubble.

Fox has mostly done his job in Orlando, breaking out for 39 points in the first game Friday before scoring 28 on Tuesday. The Kings need more players to step up around the point guard if they want to be successful.

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As it stands, Sacramento is now a long shot to make the playoffs or even the play-in tournament with a 28-39 record entering Wednesday. The team is just 3.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed, but there are four more teams in the way of moving up the standings.

Any turnaround will likely rely on more production out of Hield, who signed a four-year, $94 million extension that begins next season.