Kings

Buddy Hield breaks mentor Peja Stojakovic's record in 'special' moment

Buddy Hield breaks mentor Peja Stojakovic's record in 'special' moment

SACRAMENTO -- Buddy Hield opened as the starting shooting guard for the Sacramento Kings this season as a replacement for the injured Bogdan Bogdanovic. 72 games later, Hield has not only cemented himself as team’s starter, but he’s the Kings’ leading scorer and now a record breaker.

It’s not often you see a player seize an opportunity like Hield has. He hit a 3-pointer less than five seconds into the the Kings’ win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday to move within one of Peja Stojakovic’s franchise record for most makes from behind the arc in a single season.

After heading to the bench to finish the first quarter, Hield returned in the second and in a span of 30 seconds tied and then surpassed Stojakovic’s mark of 240 makes.

“Getting the record from Peja, he left a mark on this franchise, it’s pretty big,” Hield said. “It’s something special. Hope I can keep it for many years, but who knows. There’s always going to be some other kid that’s going to come up and break records.”

Stojakovic works in the Kings front office as an assistant general manager supporting Vlade Divac. He’s also taken a vested interest in Hield and worked behind the scenes as a mentor to the 26-year-old shooting.

“He’s just calm and collect and I didn’t see it coming this year, but that’s how God works, when you don’t expect things, it just happens,” Hield said. “He’s been a big part of my success this year and hats off to him. He’s still going to continue to help me grow.”

A notorious trash talker, Hield will likely never let Stojakovic live down him passing his record. And with 10 games remaining in the season, Hield has a chance to push the record considerably higher.

“He finds them. We’re looking for him. He’s getting them up," head coach Dave Joerger said. "We’re happy about it and maybe the best part is, that everyday we all come to the gym, Buddy’s going to give it to Peja from now until never. I couldn’t be happier for him and he deserves to have that big smile that he has. That’s quite an accomplishment.”

Hield finished the game with 25 points and seven rebounds in the win. He knocked down 7-of-14 from deep and now has 245 makes on the year.

Following his record breaker, Bogdanovic fouled Devin Booker in the act of shooting, allowing the game to stop for a moment and the fans to show their appreciation.

Hield received a standing ovation from the Golden 1 Center crowd and then play resumed.

“It’s definitely cool to see what he was able to do for the team this year and to break a record like that,” rookie Marvin Bagley said. “It was definitely cool, to see the reaction of the fans and everything. I was happy for him.”

With the win, the Kings moved back to the .500 mark on the season at 36-36. This is a team that was predicted to win just 25.5 games this year by the Vegas oddsmakers and Hield is a huge reason the Kings were in the playoff race until recently.

“He’s having a terrific year and a large part of our success has been his ability at different points in games when we’re struggling to score, he can just go and create his own offense,” Joerger said.

Hield has another mark to focus on now. With 245 makes this year, he now has 569 makes through his first three season in the league. Damian Lillard owns the NBA record for most makes over the first three seasons of a players career with 599. If Hield continues on his current pace, he has a chance to crest the 600 mark.

De'Aaron Fox roasts Fran Fraschilla over Zion Williamson, Duke tweet

De'Aaron Fox roasts Fran Fraschilla over Zion Williamson, Duke tweet

De'Aaron Fox isn't here for Fran Fraschilla's college basketball takes.

After Zion Williamson thanked the program in a video announcing his intention to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft, Fraschilla sent out a tweet noting how much he believed playing for Duke helped the phenom build his brand and profile.

Well, Fox didn't agree with the notion that Duke had a lot to do with boosting Zion's worth, and he threw some shade at Fraschilla in a NSFW tweet.

In fairness, both sides have a point to make.

A year ago, Williamson was a YouTube dunking sensation, but questions about his overall skill level remained. But during his lone season in the spotlight at Duke, Williamson showed he was more than just a highlight-reel dunker, and has all the skills necessary to be the No. 1 overall pick.

However, Williamson should've had the ability to go straight to the NBA out of high school if he wanted. He still would have been a top-10 pick, and a lucrative shoe contract would have followed shortly after his name was called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

[RELATED: Fox responds to comments about MIP candidacy]

We'll give the win to Swipa.

Kings awards: Handing out end-of-year accolades for 2018-19 season

Kings awards: Handing out end-of-year accolades for 2018-19 season

The Sacramento Kings failed in their ultimate goal of making the postseason, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a very good year. The Kings finished the season at a surprising 39-43 and they stayed in playoff contention much longer than anyone expected.

Perhaps more important than the final outcome of the season, many of the young Kings players took major strides forward in their development. The core turning potential into production, making the future bright in Sacramento.

With the season in the books, here is NBC Sports California’s take on the end of year accolades for the team.

MVP -- Buddy Hield

Coming into training camp, Hield wasn’t expected to start. A late summer knee injury cost Bogdan Bogdanovic time, opening the door for a breakout season from the former Oklahoma star.

Known for his work ethic, Hield became more than just a scorer in his third NBA season. He improved as a defender, posted a career-high in assists and rebounds, and showed an ability to hit big shots.

Hield also led the team in scoring, finishing the year averaging 20.7 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists in 31.9 minutes per game. He flourished from behind the arc, posting the seventh most made 3-pointers in a single season in NBA history with 276 makes.

The 26-year-old shooting guard took a leap from potential sixth man to near All-Star and his energy on the court was infectious.

De’Aaron Fox is in the running for this award as well, but Hield gets the nod for his consistency throughout the entire season.

Most Improved Player -- De’Aaron Fox

Fox and Hield should both draw votes for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. As far as the Kings’ team goes, it’s close, but with Hield taking home the MVP, Fox gets the MIP.

Statistical jumps from year one to year two is expected in the NBA, but Fox’s leap stands out. He bumped his points per game from 11.6 to 17.3. He increased his assists from 4.4 to 7.3, with just a .4 increase in turnovers per game. He also shored up one of his biggest weaknesses, improving his 3-point percentage from 30.7 to 37.1 percent.

In addition to all of his statistical achievements, Fox became a leader in year two and appears ready to expand his game even farther in year three.

Defensive Player of the Year -- De’Aaron Fox

Fox wasn’t just a force leading the Kings’ uptempo offense. He showed incredible improvement as a defender in year two, especially in late-game situations.

The 21-year-old point guard has tremendous upside as a two-way player. He finished the season in the top 10 in the league in steals at 1.6 per game and as he gets stronger and more mature, there is plenty of room for growth.

Willie Cauley-Stein gets an honorable mention here. He led the team in defensive real plus/minus and defensive win shares. He put up a solid season, posting career-highs in both rebounds and blocks.

Biggest Surprise -- Nemanja Bjelica

A late addition to the roster, Bjelica stepped into the starting lineup and made a tremendous impact on the Kings, especially early in the season.

The 30-year-old out of Serbia almost went back overseas before signing a three-year deal with the Kings. He posted career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and minutes played, and shot over 40 percent from behind the arc.

Bjelica struggled for a stretch in the middle of the season, but he finished strong. His ability to help space the floor was a major bonus for the team and he was a better rebounder and defensive player than expected.

[RELATED: Fox responds to comments about his most improved candidacy]

Rookie of the Year -- Marvin Bagley

This isn’t exactly a fair category. Marvin Bagley was the second overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft and his only competition for the award was a redshirt freshman who had played a total of 300 minutes over a three-year period.

Don’t get me wrong, Harry Giles was very impressive, especially in the month of March after he got his sea legs. Giles looks like a rotational player at a minimum, with the possibility to jump into the starting lineup down the road. But he’ll need time to develop after missing crucial development years.

Bagley jumped off the page from the moment he stepped foot on the floor. He needs to get stronger and build his overall skill base, but the 20-year-old power forward averaged 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and a block in 25.3 minutes per game.

A pair of knee injuries cost Bagley 20 games and plenty of momentum. A summer to work out the kinks should do wonders for the former Duke star.