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Celtics 2016 Draft Prospects: Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield: G – Oklahoma
6’4.5”, 215 lbs – 22 Years Old
• Outside Shooting: .457 from 3
• Quickness / Agility
• Work Ethic
• Killer Instinct
• Improving Handles
• Decent Wingspan: 6’8.5”
Clocking in at a slightly undersized 6’4.5”, 215 lbs - we have everyone’s favorite college player: Buddy Hield. Everyone’s Buddy enters the NBA draft fresh off of one of the most impressive tournament runs in recent memory, where he averaged a prolific 29 PPG before his final four destruction at the hands of the eventual champions. Without getting too high on Buddy’s tournament extravaganza, or too low on his disappointing elimination, there are a few facts about Buddy that are indisputable.
1. Buddy can score
2. Buddy is undersized at the NBA level
3. Buddy’s improvement from Freshman to Senior year is unparalleled across college basketball
These are facts. Whether his game will translate or not is up for debate, but his willingness to improve and his killer instinct in big moments are the types of things that translate from the college level to the NBA. Hield shot over 50% of his field goal attempts from 3 point land as a junior, and while increasing that volume to an even more extreme level, Buddy was able to simultaneously raise his 3 point efficiency by .098 as well. That is INSANE. Buddy shot .457 from 3 while attempting the second most 3 pointers in all of college basketball. When you consider degree of difficulty, the argument for Buddy Hield being the best pure scorer in the NCAA is a pretty easy one to make.
As the most polarizing player in this year’s NBA draft, I have seen Buddy projected to go as high as 3, and as low as 10. Other guards like the more complete Kris Dunn, and the 19 year old Jamal Murray will challenge Buddy to be the first guard off the board. While Dunn likely has the highest floor of the 3 top guard prospects, Hield appears to have the highest ceiling - which is why it’s going to be so hard to pass on him this June. He’s going to need to be a volume shooter at the NBA level, which could fill a big void for the Celtics who have a need for a player who can create their own offense. What might hold the Celtics back from selecting the sharpshooter from Oklahoma though, would be his lack of elite athleticism and his occasionally suspect defense. Everyone knows what Buddy can do offensively, but the big question mark on his game will be how he grows as a 2-way player. If Buddy can begin to limit his turnovers while somewhat maintaining his ridiculous FG%, he should be able to make a splash in the NBA even as a rookie. But if the concerns about his defensive intensity prove true and Hield becomes a liability on that end of the floor, he won’t have much room to grow as he is already such a polished scorer. Draft Express seems to have a similar view on Hield’s potential weaknesses at the next level.
At the end of the day, I have a hard time imagining the Celtics drafting a 22 year old if we select 1, 2, or 3 in this draft. While Buddy could make an immediate impact for a team that just had the worst shooting playoff series since the 1990’s, I believe the Celtics would get more value out of the Nets pick by drafting more by need, or even trading the pick for an established star like what has been discussed so frequently this offseason. On the other hand, if the Celtics end up drafting 4, 5, or god forbid 6 overall, I would be far less surprised to see Buddy wearing green next season – especially if the big name trade targets aren’t as available as we have been lead to assume.
We won’t know until the lottery on May 17th who the Celtics real draft targets will be, so until then enjoy this Buddy Hield highlight tape and imagine how the Hawks series may have went if we had someone who could shoot like him.