Buddy Hield scored a lot of points last season. He scored points at a pace rarely seen from a player in a power 5 conference. Buddy scored enough to win the Wooden award as the nation’s top player. He did this as a senior following 3 seasons where he made himself into a solid player, but nothing close to what he was this past year.
It is always impressive when there’s improvement like Hield had. The 2 red flags from his senior year would be the low S40 and A/TO. The fact that both were aberrations from his 3 previous years suggests this might not be a problem at all. He has shown he can score both often and efficiently. While there’s nothing here that suggests he’ll be a dominant defender, Hield’s numbers are solid enough. Same thing with Hield’s passing. He doesn’t pass a lot, and his TOs were a little too high this year, but there isn’t a lot of evidence that he’ll be an erratic player.
Here are some other big NCAA scoring guards from the past several seasons. I pulled from all levels just to get more players to compare.
Curry and Lillard have both made a huge mark on the NBA. Both were scoring PGs in college and have excelled in that role as professionals. Stuckey and Fredette were also scoring PGs. Stuckey was able to forge a decent career, Fredette not so much. Hield is more like the other prospects on this list, Redick, Neal, Meeks and Jenkins. The first 3 of those players became solid journeymen pros. Jenkins has yet to become more than a low-minutes bench player.
Hield is actually ahead of where those 4 were. He’s a much more efficient scorer than the rest. His defensive numbers are better. He is big enough that playing the SF in a small lineup is possible. I would say a career like Redick’s or Meeks’s is more reflective of Hield’s floor than an actual comp.
I don’t see Hield as a star necessarily though. The only skill he showed dominance in was scoring and he didn’t do that until his senior season. The great ones are almost always at least flashing some dominance early on. His defense and passing skills would be best described as adequate. His vastly improved scoring did coming with an increase in both turnovers and turnover rate.
What I see with Buddy Hield is a better version of JJ Redick or Jodie Meeks. He’ll light it up on occasion, and possibly approach 20 PPG in his best seasons. I don’t see him as a type who can consistently carry a team though. His high end is that of a Klay Thompson. That’s a player who will excel in the right situation. That makes Buddy Hield an easy top 10 pick.