For the first time this regular season, Buddy Hield has cracked the top 5 of the 2017 Kia Rookie Ladder. In three successive weeks he has gone from unranked to eighth to a current ranking of fourth.
Hield has vaulted up the enviable list due to a welcome propensity to knock down the three-point shot with incredible consistency. Since a game against the Thunder on December 4th, Hield has been unconscious from behind the arc, making exactly half of his 94 attempts.
In a recent interview with Jim Eichenhofer, Hield revealed that going back to the state of Oklahoma has made all the difference in the world.
“I feel like it was a homecoming, something I needed. I feel like when I was down there, playing in that city, staying in that state, I just got revived.”
During the NBA preseason, NBA.com had ranked Hield first overall and the current leader, Joel Embiid, fourth. That pecking order is somewhat laughable now that Embiid has proven his foot issues are behind him and he is by far and away the most dominant rookie in the league, hurtling towards the 2017 Rookie of the Year Award. However, Hield’s per 36 minute averages of 16.8 points, 3.6 threes, 5.0 rebounds and a healthy 54.8 eFG% since the enlightening trip to OKC demonstrates that the experts were not wrong for making Hield one of the preseason favorites to win the award.
Next to the MVP-caliber campaign by Anthony Davis, Buddy Hield’s wonderful impression of a walking and breathing fire emoji might be the greatest first half story for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Maybe if Buddy Buckets never takes off the hat, the flames will never abate and it will be one of the biggest reasons a 15-24 current record becomes a distant memory.