Why Hield turned down chance to defend 3-Point Contest crown

Hield, Kings

Buddy Hield made history in his 350th career game Sunday, becoming the fastest player in NBA history to reach 1,000 3-pointers. But despite establishing himself as an electric offensive asset, the Kings guard ultimately turned down the opportunity to defend his title as the 3-Point Contest champion during NBA All-Star weekend on March 7.

The 28-year-old emphatically took home the 3-point champion berth in last year's competition, but won't participate in the challenge this year, citing both COVID-19 concerns and the desire to spend some time with loved ones during the All-Star break.

"I can spend some time with my family, and hopefully next year I have an opportunity to have a crack at it again when hopefully we're not under COVID rules, where we can do some stuff," Hield said following the Kings' nail-biting 123-120 victory over the shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. "I'm just tired of being locked into rules and stuff like that. I'm too unruly."

Despite an inconsistent first half of the season, Hield still has shown flashes of his sharpshooting skills, and he seems to be heating up as of late. After dropping 30 points in Sacramento's devastating loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, the Oklahoma product dumped in a game-high 29 points, six rebounds and six assists in Wednesday's win. He was lights out from beyond the arc, finishing 7-of-11 from downtown.

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Steph Curry, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine and Jaylen Brown will round out the field for this year's 3-Point Contest, which is scheduled to take place prior to tipoff of the All-Star Game.

While Hield will be absent from the All-Star festivities this year, he is optimistic he'll be back to reclaim his title sooner rather than later. As far as his performance on the court goes, though, if he can keep up his recent production level, Hield should play a key part in the Kings (14-21) righting the ship heading into the second half of the season.