The Sacramento Kings’ decision to insert Bogdan Bogdanovic into the lineup for a struggling Buddy Hield has clearly played dividends with both playing excellent as of late.
In desperate need of a change, it came as a surprise when the Sacramento Kings swapped Buddy Hield out of the starting lineup for Bogdan Bogdanovic. However, the move has paid off thus far, and the team is making a stealthy run for the postseason.
Both Hield and Bogdanovic may play the shooting guard position but are in very different positions for the Kings. Hield is in the first year of a lucrative contract extension, while Bogdanovic is set to become a free agent after this season concludes.
Which made it shocking when head coach Luke Walton sent Buddy Hield to the bench in favor of Bogdan Bogdanovic in the starting lineup. Walton claimed it was by no means a punishment, but the team needed to try something new after losing six consecutive games.
The swap seemed problematic at first, bringing the team’s leading scorer off the bench after he just signed a deal that could pay him up to $106 million over four years.
However, the move has benefited all parties involved thus far, as the Kings have been a much-improved team since the switch was made on January 24th.
The Kings are 9-4 since promoting Bogdanovic into the starting lineup, two of those losses coming against the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, the two best teams in the NBA.
The team has gone from 14th place in the Western Conference to 12th, only a few games out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
Sacramento has all of the momentum right now and could very well sneak into the final playoff spot if they can keep up this play. The most significant factor in this is if Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic can continue this stellar play in their new roles.
Since coming off the bench, Hield has been a lethal threat offensively, averaging 20.6 points per game. The 27-year-old is doing it incredibly efficient as well, shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from three-point territory in 13 games.
Having the luxury of bringing a significant offensive threat such as Hield off the bench has been a massive boost for the Kings. The guard may still be adjusting to his new role, but this team has been better with Buddy as the sixth man.
As for the new starter Bogdanovic, the guard has been playing much better basketball. Averaging 14.4 points per game since joining the starters, the 27-year-old has done his share of providing offense.
Bogdanovic may not be putting up newfound numbers since becoming a starter, but it is more about bringing Hield off the bench to provide that spark offensively. It was a risky move to make but has rejuvenated this team in 13 games since then.
With less than a quarter of the regular season left to play, the Kings find themselves in a prime position to end their long-awaited postseason drought.
The team will need to keep up their recent winning ways if they wish to make it into the postseason, while also relying on the outcome of opposing teams.
While it may seem like a stretch right now, a lot can happen in these final 25 games.