Sacramento Kings: Late game controversy could become costly

Sacramento Kings (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Buddy Hield and the Sacramento Kings have been on edge all season, and after last night’s controversial decision, things could take a turn for the worse.

The Sacramento Kings were trailing by three points with the ball and 13.7 seconds left in last night’s game versus the Toronto Raptors.

Typically, this would be a signature moment for famed three-point shooter Buddy Hield, but he was not in the game and had not been for the previous 12 minutes.

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Nemanja Bjelica would miss a game-tying attempt and the Kings would go on to lose the game 118-113 in a hard-fought battle down to the end. Head coach Luke Walton was asked about the decision to keep Hield on the bench for these final moments, giving his take on the situation.

“Buddy, I thought was playing a good game and we were going to get him back in there, and then Bogi (Bogdan Bogdanovic), he started really turning it on and then that group that was out there was really in a good rhythm. So, we stuck with them.”

Yet, Bogdanovic would finish the game with nine points on 1-of-6 shooting from three-point territory. Hield indeed struggled himself throughout the game, finishing with 11 points on 4-of-12 field-goal shooting, including 3-of-8 from behind the three-point line.

Regardless, on the season, the 27-year-old Hield is statistically the second-best shooter from behind the arc at 39.5 percent, only behind Bjelica’s 42.4 percent. He deserved to be in there for that final shot, struggling or not.

Not to forget that Buddy Hield also just recently won the NBA All-Star weekend’s Three-Point Contest, showcasing that he is indeed a significant shooter.

Possibly frustrated with the outcome of the game, Hield did not speak to the media after the loss. A worrisome sign, to say the least.

In the first year of a four-year deal that could pay him up to $106 million, Hield and the Kings have had their share of disagreements when it comes to his role. When moved to the bench in favor of Bogdanovic, there was displeasure with the decision on Hield’s end.

Shams Charina of The Athletic had reported earlier in the season that Hield could request a trade if this benching continued, and this dilemma last night could be an important factor moving forward.

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Hield reportedly has a desire to be a starter in this league, although the Kings have been a significantly better team with him off the bench.

It is a problematic situation for Luke Walton and the Kings’ organization to continue bringing Hield off the bench, knowing that he is growing frustrated.

However, it is what has been best for the team. Sacramento is 13-7 since the move was made, and the team has been playing their best basketball of the season.

Right now, the Sacramento Kings are focused on making it into the playoffs. Currently, at 10th place in the loaded Western Conference, they have a chance, but this team needs to continue winning games.

What comes of this Buddy Hield controversy will be dealt with when the season concludes, but winning can solve many problems.

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If these types of issues continue with no results, we could very well be seeing the end of Hield in a Sacramento jersey.