Hield turning season around for the Pelicans
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: Jan 05, 2017
After a slow start to his professional career in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Bahamian Chavano “Buddy” Hield is turning it around.
In his last game for the New Orleans Pelicans, Hield had 20 points and five rebounds in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers – a day before being named the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December. In that month, Hield scored in double figures in nine of the Pelicans’ 16 games, leading all Western Conference rookies in scoring at 10.6 points per game. He also led in three-point percentage at 47.8 percent from long distance.
The 6’4” wingman helped New Orleans to win their final three games in December. He set new career highs with 21 points and five three-pointers in a 102-95 win over the Indiana Pacers on December 15. Hield went 4-for-6 from long range, and helped the Pelicans climb back into playoff position, after spending most of the early season on the outside looking in.
Hield’s numbers in December are similar to those that made him such a highly sought after prospect coming out of the University of Oklahoma. They are especially promising since Hield got off to such a rough start early in the season.
The No. 6 overall draft selection of the Pelicans shot a frustrating 23.7 percent from behind the three-point line in October and November.
“I’m reading the game more,” Hield said of his recent play. “I feel like the first month was pretty rough. When we got to December, things really slowed down. I had a talk with Anthony Davis and he told me some real stuff. That turned my head a little bit and I locked in. My teammates and coach Gentry stuck with me and gave me so much confidence.”
Since the return of players like Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans to the line-up, Hield has been able to find space on the perimeter.
"I'm playing around good players," Hield said. "Davis, Holiday, Solomon (Hill) and all those guys help me. They find me in good spots. They do the little things to get me up and get me going."
Hield is currently averaging 8.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists through his first 36 games, including 16 starts.
Additionally, the Grand Bahama native is up to 36 percent (55-for-151) from behind the three-point line, and is shooting 92 percent (23-for-25) from the free-throw line.
The Pelicans are coached by Alvin Gentry.