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Buddy Hield, Kings

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3 last-second predictions for Kings rising star Buddy Hield entering 2019-20

3 last-second predictions for Kings rising star Buddy Hield entering 2019-20

Now that Buddy Hield has secured a bag effectively worth $94 million over four years, the Sacramento Kings shooting guard will have plenty of incentives to keep his high-scoring production up in the next few years.

The 6-foot-4 sniper will get $86 million as his base contract and another $8 million in likely bonuses (which will count toward the total salary cap), along with an extra $12 million in unlikely bonuses, which he will be fighting to get. Hield has no team or player option attached to his contract, which is a strong get for the Kings, who had Hield bank on himself and his abilities in hopes to maximize a potential $106 million deal if he meets all the criteria.

3. Expect Hield to come out firing

If the 2018-19 season was any indication, the marksman will take a well-reputable flamethrower into his fourth season in the league, now bound to flirt with 300 3-pointers in the season after knocking down 278 in his last campaign while playing all 82 games.

The sharpshooter has an incentive for being among the top-10 3-point shooters in the league, something he has already reached after making the fourth-most 3-pointers last season and shooting at the seventh-best clip (42.7%).

Last season was Hield’s coming out party, breaking out as a 20-point scorer in his third season. But now his contract also qualifies him to have more liberties shooting the ball, while also playing for a coach who encourages freedom in shot selection in newcomer Luke Walton.

The Oklahoma product could be launching close to 10 3-pointers per game this season. While his bonuses don’t kick in until the 2020-21 season, it’s very likely that his ascension as one of the NBA’s most prominent bucket-getters won’t wait.

2. Expect him to get involved in the playmaking

Much like Luke Walton did with Klay Thompson on the Golden State Warriors, it’s likely the new Kings coach will try to evolve Hield beyond a sharpshooter, putting the ball in his hands in isolations and asking him to find his teammates for scoring opportunities.

Hield won’t develop into a playmaker overnight, the way a more experienced 2-guard like DeMar DeRozan did in his first year with the Spurs. However, Hield will be tasked with running the offense alongside a good playmaker in De’Aaron Fox, who can help him become a more well-rounded backcourt mate.

The experiment will come with its share of turnovers, but those are the type of growing pains that will help Hield amplify his game and give him another layer beyond his shotmaking ability.

1. Expect him to get to the line

Hield will see some nights where he struggles to make shots. Now that he’s paid like a star, expect him to demand the respect of the opponents and the officials by making his way to the free-throw line. Hield attempted a career-high 2.4 free throws per night last season, not nearly enough for a player who is hoping to average 20 points or more on a nightly basis.

Hield’s playmaking and isolation game should help him find ways to blow past his opponents and do more than settle for mid-range shots. If he is to command that large of a contract, he should be able to double that frequency, potentially getting to the line about five times per game.

Even if he falls short of that bar, the fact that Hield is showing he can be a threat from the line (career 87.4% shooter) can speak volumes of why he is deserving of that hefty new deal that will keep him in Sacramento until 2025.

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