Buddy Hield’s draft stock just keeps rising.
916 points, 146 three-pointers, countless transcendent performances, a Big 12 Player of the Year award, a TSN National Player of the Year award and a trip to the Final Four later, and Hield is looking at a potential top-five selection in next June’s draft.
Not bad for a Bahamas native who grew up playing on hoops like this.
When exactly Hield will be drafted is up for debate, but most are now in agreement that he is, at the least, inside the Top 10. In my latest mock draft, I have him going No. 4 to the Boston Celtics. Sports Illustrated has him No. 5. ESPN projects him No. 6, and DraftExpress puts him at No. 7.
Mychal Thompson, Klay’s father and a former No. 1 pick originally from the Bahamas, wonders why Buddy’s stock hasn’t risen any higher:
I don’t know what else they want this young man to do. He can do everything you ask of an NBA guard.
He moves without the ball like J.J. Reddick. He shoots like he’s a member of the Golden State Warriors. He can create his own shot. He’s got a high basketball I.Q. He can move his feet defensively.
When it comes down to it, NBA teams, especially most of the ones that are drafting in the lottery, like upside and potential, and guys like Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram and Dragan Bender are not only younger than Hield, but they possess unique traits that point to them being rare matchup problems at the next level.
Moreover, while the Final Four provides the largest stage for Hield to continue obliterating defenses with his lethal jump shot and seemingly unstoppable scoring ability, it would seem that he’s already done everything he can to impress those in NBA circles.
“It’s nothing we didn’t know or haven’t seen already,” an NBA GM said about Hield’s performance throughout the Big Dance. “But it’s good to see him doing this on the biggest stage he’s played on in his college career so far.”
So, no matter what happens in Houston, don’t expect Hield to jump into the conversation concerning the first or second overall pick.
But as he’s already proved countless times this season, just about anything else is entirely possible.