Buddy Hield has been moved to the bench and Bogdan Bogdanovic will replace him in the starting lineup as the Sacramento Kings attempt to turn their awful season around. Hield has taken a huge step back this season just months after he agreed to a four-year, $86 million extension. His struggles line up perfectly with Sacramento's terrible campaign.
The Kings finished 39-43 last season and looked to be ramping up for a playoff run during the 2019-20 season. Instead, they're languishing near the bottom of the Western Conference at 15-29. They have currently lost six games in a row and 15 of 18 entering Friday's matchup with the Chicago Bulls.
For some reason Sacramento just can't figure it all out. Hield is a perfect example of what's going wrong with the team.
The 27-year-old is averaging 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 34.4 minutes per game. But his underlying numbers have all taken a step back. Last season he hit 45.8 percent of his field goals and 42.7 percent of his 3-point shots. This season, he's down to 41.6 percent from the field and 36.0 percent from 3-point range. And he's taking more shots from beyond the arc, the number has increased from 7.9 attempts per game to 9.8.
Hield's efficiency numbers have suffered as well. He reached career-highs in points per 40 minutes (25.9) and PER (17.60) during the 2018-19 season. This year he's down to 23.3 points per 40 and his PER has dropped to 14.47, his worst number since his rookie season. Last season, Hield posted 5.9 win shares and a career-best .108 win shares per 48 minutes. This year he's down to 1.3 win shares and .042 win shares per 48. His value over replacement player in 2018-19 was a career-best 2.1, and is down to 0.5 this year.
As you can see, Hield's underlying numbers are much worse across the board this season. He's having a down year and if it's a sign of things to come, his contract could be an albatross for the Kings long-term.
Sacramento is an absolute mess this season and Hield is a big part of what's going wrong. It may take a complete front office overhaul to turn things around, as Vlade Divac's tenure has been a disaster.