If you had Buddy Hield on the 2020-21 Kings roster and not Bogdan Bogdanovic, you probably won a betting pool somewhere.
Bogdanovic now is with the Atlanta Hawks and Hield still is a member of the Kings, although his future role with the team is unknown at this time despite entering the first year of a four-year, $86 million contract.
Hield’s list of grievances was long last season. He wasn’t happy about the extension process or the final dollar amount on his contract. He wasn’t happy when head coach Luke Walton sent him to the bench mid-season and he made a habit out of liking social media posts about him joining other teams all offseason.
According to Hield, he’s happy to be back in Sacramento. He’s ready to get to work. He doesn’t have any remorse from anything that he’s said or done over the last few months.
“I have no regrets and there’s nothing to be worked on,” Hield said. “I never had no problem with nobody here. Everything that was being heard, that wasn’t put out by me. I love everybody in this franchise, this organization. I don’t regret nothing that I said. I’m going to keep it 100.”
While he can be a bit of a distraction off the court with his comments, Hield is in spectacular shape, like every season, and has been working hard to improve throughout the summer.
“I don’t come to the gym in the mornings because I want to get paid,” Hield said. “I do it because I love it. I come to compete and that’s what I want to do here every night, is compete and try to win basketball games.”
Hield’s work ethic is never in question. He’s made himself into one of the greatest shooters in the game and his numbers through the first four years of his career are historic.
The Kings have rebuilt their roster once again. There are plenty of new faces, but the plan is the same as it has been. Walton wants to push the tempo and take advantage of his team’s speed.
With Bogdanovic gone, Hield will compete for a starting job against rookie Tyrese Haliburton. Hield has a tremendous advantage in experience, but the Kings are very high on their first-round pick.
“I always love competing and it doesn’t matter, that’s not my job,” Hield said when asked if he’d prefer to start. “I don’t control that, the head coach controls that. They brought me here for certain reasons, to play basketball and win basketball games. So whatever they need me for, I’m going to do it and try to compete at the highest level I can.”
The road has been rocky for Hield, he is built for the Kings’ style of play. He was a track star back in the Bahamas and he’ll get plenty of opportunities to rain down 3-pointers both in transition and in the half court.
He seems to be in a good place coming into the season and the frustrations that he’s felt haven’t dampened his spirit.
“I love working out, I love coming to the gym, I love just hearing that ball bounce in the gym every day,” Hield said.
If Sacramento has any chance of snapping their 14-year playoff drought, they need Hield to be at the top of his game. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, he has an ability to be a difference maker for the Kings, which is why they’ve invested so heavily in him.