NBA Draft: Buddy Hield Philadelphia 76ers Prospect Watch

Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket against Villanova Wildcats forward Daniel Ochefu (23) during the second half in the 2016 NCAA Men
Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket against Villanova Wildcats forward Daniel Ochefu (23) during the second half in the 2016 NCAA Men /

Shooting is the biggest need of the Philadelphia 76ers and Buddy Hield has it in droves.

Buddy Hield’s season ended in the roughest way imaginable: shooting 4-12 from the field, only 1-8 from 3-point land, scoring only 9 points, and coughing up 4 turnovers in a blowout loss where his Oklahoma Sooners got blown out by the Villanova Wildcats by 44 points. On the bright side, even though Villanova was determined to close out on his shooting he was determined to affect the game in some way, as seen by his 7 rebounds. Will his final collegiate game leave a sour taste for scouts? We’ll discuss that… but first, his measureables!


Height: 6’4″
Weight: 214 lbs
Wingspan: 6’8″

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College Resume

Being a senior, Buddy has had a long college career to look back on; even as a freshman he received a lot of playing time for the Sooners, averaging 25.1 minutes per game, although he did not shoot the ball very effectively, less than 40 percent from the field and not yet a knockdown assassin from beyond the arc, only hitting 23.8 percent from there.

It wasn’t until his sophomore season that his outside shot started going down, where he hit 38.6 percent from 3-point land while taking 7 shots there per game. He also started getting more attention from the media, after getting on the second-team All Big-12 selection. As a junior, he continued upping his efficiency and volume, where he shot 35.9 percent from outside while scoring 17.4 points per game while winning the Big-12 Player of the Year award while getting on the third-team All American list.

Big players come up in big games and that’s what happened to Hield in his senior, and breakout, season. Despite the rough finale, Buddy is not afraid of the bright lights, as evidenced by his outburst in the Elite 8 game against the Oregon Ducks, where he scored 37 points and hit 8 threes.

He has been showing this kind of confidence and range all season which is making teams buzz about his potential impact in the space-and-pace NBA.

Experts Take

Sports Illustrated – #5 
FanSided – #7
DraftExpress – #7 – #3
ESPN, Chad Ford (Insider) – #6

What We Say

Buddy has been a special player throughout the tournament, lighting up the scoreboard with his shooting and getting everyone swept up in March Madness even more. At the same time, recency bias is a real thing and we need to take his entire resume into account when evaluating how his skills will translate into the NBA. Before the tournament, Buddy was a mid-lottery pick at best, more likely hovering around the 10-ish range. Projected things that he will struggle with are being the primary ball-handler and showing next-level defense.

In addition to that, the main offensive asset that he has, more so than pure range, is his ability to create space for his shot (highlighted in the video above). However, when teams hone into Hield and don’t give an inch, like Villanova did, he will struggle to put up points.

He was always an off-ball scorer in college and was not able to fine tune his handles, so his penetration and passing have hurt from that. This year has been his career high in assists with only two per game, and watching the tape, it’s troublesome that he cannot get into the lane to set up teammates, so he should never be the primary ball handler when he gets to the NBA. Since he is only 6’4″, meaning a little short for a starting shooting guard in the NBA, opposing offenses will attack him with post ups and switches, unless he is paired with a tall point guard for defensive matchups.

This doesn’t mean he will be an overall bad defender, however. He does have great anticipation and quick hands, as he averaged over a steal per game during his college tenure. The best part about him is that season after season, he has worked hard to craft his game; his box score numbers and efficiency has risen every single year while he was in college, so this guy has the work ethic to improve himself even into the next level.

The current version of Buddy Hield is not a high lottery pick, but it’s his projection to improve year-over-year that makes him an intriguing prospect.

How Does He Fit With The Sixers?

Two things the Sixers need from their back court right now: ball handling and shooting. Hield checks off one of those boxes but the other one is very much a work in progress and I can see him having a very similar role to what Isaiah Canaan is doing right now, where he gets mainly shooting guard duties but handles the ball for a few minutes a game to give the point guards a rest.

Next: The Case For And Against Drafting Jaylen Brown

Since he is a senior Buddy should be able to step right in and contribute to the team. He most likely will not be a starter right away, but would steal minutes from the current crop of off-guards on the team. In addition to making use of his shooting ability from the outside, I’m sure Brett Brown and Sam Hinkie will make it a point to develop the other aspects of his game if they call his name on draft night.