Mistakes & Missteps
The reasons that many Kings fans find Buddy Hield to be somewhat expendable are his defense and his on-court mistakes, particularly in crunch time.
Hield’s usage rate increased this last season under the new head coaching staff, and his role transformed as well. Instead of being used primarily as a catch-and-shoot guy, Hield was asked to handle the ball more and often times take control of the offense. It rarely worked, as Hield’s flaws were put on display whether it was his fault or not.
Hield averaged 2.3 turnovers per game (up from 1.8 the season prior) this season, and his turnover percentage was the highest since his rookie season. It was not rare to see Hield overshoot a pass to a teammate and have it end up in the 4th row, and it often happened in some of the most important moments of certain games.
This is actually what caused the aforementioned “trust issues”, since Luke Walton and the coaching staff had Hield on the bench during the fourth quarter on multiple occasions. They couldn’t count on Hield to take care of the ball when ball security was of the utmost importance, which made him nearly unplayable in certain situations. That is a tough thing for a prominent three-point shooter.
It isn’t just bad passes. Hield had 59 lost ball turnovers this last season, eight more than the season before despite playing in 18 fewer games.