The Boston Celtics are short on two things: playmaking and shooting, but with the trade deadline coming up, one would hope they address those issues.
According to Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, the Celtics could solve their shooting woes by exploring a trade for the Sacramento Kings sharpshooting guard, Buddy Hield.
“The Celtics, meanwhile, rank 22nd in points scored per possession, 18th in half-court efficiency and 24th in three-point accuracy. To say they’d welcome Hield’s flame-throwing and gravity would be the mother of all understatement,” Favale wrote in a recent article.
Hield, a 29-year-old shooting guard, is a career 40.3% shooter from behind the arc and can score off the catch or off movement. Throughout the veteran sharpshooters 45 games this season, he’s averaged a 38.1% conversion rate on his long-range bombs, which would easily place him atop of Boston’s three-point shooting hierarchy.
Of course, you don’t get anything for free in this world, and the question remains; what would the Celtics have to give up to land such a player?
“There is a “rising belief” the Kings intend to trade Hield (and Harrison Barnes), according to NBA reporter Marc Stein, but his $23.1 million salaries may prove prohibitive. Josh Richardson plus Juan Hernangomez’s expiring deal and picks (or prospects) profiles as a possible framework. It also adds to the Celtics’ tax bill at a time when they’re likely trying to cut costs,” Favale wrote.
Hield Is Type of Player Boston Hopes Nesmith Becomes
When the Celtics drafted Aaron Nesmith with the 14th pick in the 2020 NBA draft, they selected the consensus choice for the best shooter. Nesmith entered the NBA with a reputation as a sniper, who could light teams up from deep, either off the catch or when curling off screens.
However, things haven’t gone to plan for the sophomore wing, and currently, he finds himself outside the rotation looking in. Alas, if the Celtics were to acquire Hield, Nesmith would further slide down the rotation, assuming he wasn’t part of the deal to bring the veteran shooter into Boston, of course.
Yet, should Nesmith remain in Boston and Hield found his way onto the roster, it would provide an exceptional mentor for the young flamethrower. Hield could work with Nesmith on his timing and movement, helping to expedite the second-year wing’s growth, and what team doesn’t want two snipers to call upon off the bench?
Another note is that Nesmith has shown far more quality on the defensive end and projects as a potential two-way wing rather than a single skill specialist like Hield. Sure, there would be plenty of room for these two scorers to co-exist off the bench, but it’s highly likely the Kings ask for Nesmith in any deal involving their best floor spacer.
Hield Would Open The Floor for Tatum & Brown
Another reason the Celtics should kick the tires on a potential trade for Heild is the spacing he would provide for the team’s star wings. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have found driving the lane rather tough this season, in large part due to the lack of shooters sharing the floor with them.
Outside of Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard, the Celtics don’t have a reliable scoring weapon from beyond the arc, which allows teams to sag off their man as a result. The knock-on effect the Celtics’ lack of shooting has is that teams can easily clog the paint to deter drives and stagnate Boston’s offense.
An excellent example of teams forcing Boston into arduous drives and then capitalizing on their mistakes is the January 14 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, where the Celtics committed 20 turnovers. Sure, Hield wouldn’t solve Boston’s playmaking issues, but his presence on the floor would ensure teams couldn’t overload the interior, and that would give Tatum and Brown vital space to operate.
It would seem that Hield, who has three years left on his $94 million contract, is tailor-made to solve some of Boston’s offensive problems. The only question is whether Brad Stevens and Boston’s ownership team is willing to remain in the luxury tax for a team that doesn’t project as championship contenders this season.