Hield gets NBA West Conference Rookie of the Month honor
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Jan 04, 2017
Bahamian Chavano “Buddy” Hield is finding his footing in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
After a senior season in college in which he collected almost every major award handed out to the best male collegiate basketball player, the Grand Bahama native secured his first honor in the NBA this week.
On Tuesday, 23-year-old Hield, a 6’4” 214-pound two guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, was named the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month, for games played in December. The Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, 22, secured the award for the Eastern Conference.
Seven footer Embiid led all rookies in scoring (19.8 points per game), rebounds (6.8 rebounds per game) and blocked shots (2.40 blocks per game) in December. He had a career-high 33 points to go along with 10 rebounds in a 108-107 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on December 18.
As for Hield, he’s picking it up after a slow start in the league. The sixth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft led Western Conference rookies in scoring (10.6 points per game) and three-point field goal percentage (47.8), and topped all first-year players in three-pointers made (33), in December. He scored in double figures nine times in 16 games, including a dozen or more points in each of the final three games of December. The Pelicans won all three of those games, and currently sport a 14-22 win/loss record on the season. They are just a game and a half out of the final playoff spot in the West, after starting the season with eight straight losses.
On December 15, Hield set career highs with 21 points and five three-pointers in a 102-95 victory for the Pelicans over the Indiana Pacers. He also had four boards in that game. On December 26 against Dallas, Hield had 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field. The Pelicans won that game 111-104. Just two nights later, Hield finished with 17 points, six rebounds and two steals in a 102-98 victory for the Pelicans over the Los Angeles Clippers.
So far in January, he is picking up where he left off in December. Hield had 20 points on 6-for-13 shooting, and 4-for-6 shooting from distance, in a 90-82 loss for the Pelicans in Cleveland to NBA superstar LeBron James and the defending champs. Hield shared side-high honors with Anthony Davis in that game, and also added five rebounds and two assists. James led the Cavaliers with a game-high 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists in that game.
“This is the NBA. You have to be able to bring it every night,” Hield was quoted as saying. “You can’t afford to take a night off. It’s a learning experience and I’m getting used of it.”
For the season, Hield is averaging 8.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in a little over 19 minutes per game.
The Pelicans will host the Atlanta Hawks at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, at 8 p.m. on Thursday.