Sacramento Kings: The obvious solution to the Buddy Hield dilemma

Sacramento Kings, Buddy Hield (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings, Buddy Hield (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Sacramento Kings have a major problem on their hands with Buddy Hield. But there is an obvious solution to the problem that the team continues to ignore.

The Sacramento Kings find themselves in quite the dilemma regarding star shooting guard Buddy Hield. And that dilemma is just the latest installment in what has been a disastrous season for Sacramento.

The Kings entered the 2019-20 season riding a wave of optimism following a surprisingly good previous season that saw the team fall just one spot short of a postseason appearance — something the franchise has been starved for.

Yet, despite the overwhelming optimism, the Kings fell flat this season and even despite a recent surge still sit at just 21-32 in 12th place in the Western Conference. It’s been another season to forget for long-suffering Kings fans.

To make matters worse, the Buddy Hield situation has arisen.

The Kings finally seemed to find a successful formula after inserting Bogdan Bogdanovic into the starting lineup and opting to have a struggling Hield come off the bench.

Since the switch was made, the Kings have gone 6-3 with two of those losses coming at the hands of the NBA’s two best teams — the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. And in that time, Hield has seen his production improve.

2019-20 Regular Season Table

Above you see a layout of Hield’s numbers since he was relegated to bench duty back in late January. His minutes haven’t gone down significantly and his efficiency is better than it’s been all season.

Unfortunately, despite his recent uptick in production, Hield isn’t willing to accept this “demotion.” Hield believes that he can be a starter in the NBA and if the Kings don’t see his same vision, he’s reportedly prepared to ask for a trade.

This creates a major dilemma for Sacramento, but one that has a solution if the team were to choose to take it. There is a way to keep Hield happy while simultaneously keeping Bogdanovic in the starting lineup.

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That solution is as simple as rolling with a small starting lineup. Have Hield play the two, insert Bogdanovic at the three, and shift Barnes down to the four.

In this case, you could have Nemanja Bjeclica coming off the bench — a role he’d likely fill without complaint — while both Hield and Bogdanovic started on the wing.

Is that Bogdanovic’s ideal role? No, not exactly. But it would allow both Hield and the Serbian native to be in the starting lineup and it would hopefully not mess with the Kings’ recent successful strategy.

Sure, the Kings could keep things how they are and risk alienating their star even more. Perhaps that’s the right thing to do. But Sacramento is in a tough spot here. If Hield requests a trade, what could they feasibly even get back for him?

The Kings just signed Hield to a massive four-year, $106 million contract extension that will kick in next season. He’s in the middle of a bad season, he’s been criticized for his attitude, and he’s not exactly young anymore either.

Buddy Hield is worth more to the Kings than they’d ever get in return.

Rolling with a different starting lineup seems like the obvious fix but it would require head coach Luke Walton to show some flexibility on the issue, which might be harder than it seems.

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Either way, the Sacramento Kings are in quite the bind and they need to find a way out. Luckily, the solution is staring them in the face if that’s a route they want to go down.