Sacramento Kings: Buddy Hield benching could become problematic fast

Sacramento Kings (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

With the Sacramento Kings moving starting guard Buddy Hield to the bench in favor of Bogdan Bogdanovic, it has the potential to be problematic.

When it was announced that the Sacramento Kings were moving starting guard Buddy Hield to the bench in favor of Bogdan Bogdanovic, it came as somewhat a shocking turn of events. Given how things have played out this season, this could lead to problems soon.

As it currently stands, the Kings are not having the type of season they were expecting, placing 13th in the Western Conference with a 16-29 record.

Having just made a move that centered around shipping Trevor Ariza to Portland for a pair of veterans, it seemed like the team was continuing a massive push for the postseason behind backcourt Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox.

However, having lost six consecutive times before Friday’s game, it is not surprising they made a lineup change, but it is shocking it was this one.

Prior to Friday’s game, Hield was averaging 20 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists, while shooting 41.6 percent from the field and 36 percent from behind the arc. The guard is also the only player on the roster averaging 20 or more points per game, making a move like this puzzling.

In a season full of disappointment, this benching has the potential to make it even more disastrous.

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Hield has seen a dip in stats on the offensive end, currently shooting career lows in both field-goal percentage and three-point percentage while shooting career-high attempts in both categories.

Yet, this Sacramento team is searching for a star to lead them, and Hield is the closest thing they have to one right now. Benching him midway through the regular season, permanent or not, shows how discombobulated this year has been.

During their stretch of six consecutive losses, Hield had been struggling to find a solid rhythm on offense, particularly from three-point territory. Averaging 17.5 points on 43.4 percent shooting, including an unfamiliar 28.2 percent from deep, the guard has been in a massive slump.

Regardless, Bogdan Bogdanovic has not been much more efficient himself in four games since return from injury. Coming off the bench, the guard is averaging 15 points on 43.9 percent shooting and 30 percent from downtown.

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Inserting Bogdanovic does not make much sense other than one reason, trying to boost his trade stock just under two weeks ahead of the deadline.

Trading Bogdanovic has been a possibility for the Kings this entire season, with several teams interested in the shooting guard. If they are attempting to bolster Bogdanovic’s play in search of a more significant haul, this could be problematic.

Set to make $9 million this year, Bogdanovic is a rather cheap asset, while Hield is not. In the first year of a four-year deal that could pay him up to $106 million, benching the guard is a bad look.

With how this has all unfolded, the last thing Sacramento needs is a star player requesting a trade to a different organization.

First-year Sacramento Kings’ head coach Luke Walton had some choice words when asked why he chose to make this move.

He stated, “It is not a punishment to Buddy at all” while adding, “We’re a team struggling to win games right now, so we’re looking to see if different groups give us a better chance of doing that so there is nothing permanent to it.”

In his first game off the bench, Hield scored a team-high 21 points in 23 minutes as the Kings would win for the first time since January 7th. Going 7-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-9 from deep, Hield was playing like he was trying to send a message.

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Bogdanovic, on the other hand, would score just 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting. After this spectacular performance from Buddy Hield, expect another possible lineup change soon that reinserts him back into the starting lineup before things go south.