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Kings GM Vlade Divac speaks on Buddy Hield’s struggles after large payday

Buddy Hield, Kings, Vlade Divac

Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac has an idea why shooting guard Buddy Hield is struggling to start the season.

Divac says defenses are focusing on Hield more after his breakout season in 2018-19. As a result, the sharpshooter is at the top of opposing team’s scouting reports.

“I think last year, he surprised everybody,” Divac said, via David Aldridge of The Athletic. “This year, they are ready for him. He has to figure out (how) to go on (to) the next level.”

Through the Kings’ first seven games of the season, Hield is averaging 17.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He’s also shooting 40.5 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from beyond the arc and 75.0 percent from the free-throw line.

Hield signed a rookie-scale extension with the Kings before the season started. He put up 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 2018-19.

There’s plenty of time for Hield to improve his shooting numbers. The Kings are 2-5 on the young season and will look to improve to 3-5 on Wednesday when they take on the Toronto Raptors.

Hield is part of Sacramento’s core, which is headlined by De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III, Harrison Barnes, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Harry Giles. The franchise hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006. It remains to be seen if Hield and Co. can snap that playoff drought this season.