When the Boston Celtics traveled to SacTown earlier this week, they got themselves a first-hand look at a few highly intriguing traded player exception candidates. Kings forward Harrison Barnes, who NBCS Boston’s Chris Forsberg believes “checks a lot of the boxes for what Boston is looking for,” excelled on the night. The former NBA Champion amassed 24 points in 37 minutes of play to go along with six assists and five boards, helping lead his team to a 116-111 victory over Boston.
However, where Barnes fell short on the night was his from 3-point range. The 28-year-old forward went just 1-for-7 from beyond the arc. That’s where Barnes’ sharp-shooting teammate Buddy Hield comes into the picture.
Forsberg’s colleague, Justin Leger, believes that if Barnes isn’t the answer for Boston then Hield may very well be. Leger points to the former Naismith College Player of the Year recipient as a prime candidate for the team to deploy their TPE on.
Hield, 28, is another intriguing fit as he’d provide another element to the Celtics offense with his perimeter shooting. He notched his first double-double of the season Wednesday night with 15 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. If Barnes isn’t the guy, the C’s could benefit from using their TPE on the 2016 first-round pick out of Oklahoma.
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Buddy Hield’s Up & Down Play
Hield’s production this season has been far from jaw-dropping. As Leger noted above, he did record his first double-double of the season against Boston. However, he is shooting just 38.3% from two-point range in 2020-21, a sizable dropoff from his combined 45.3% field goal average over the previous four seasons with the Kings.
On the other hand, at his best, Hield could serve as a lethal sniper from beyond the arc for the Celtics. Evident by the fact that no player in NBA history has made more 3-pointers over their first four seasons than Hield has (873). In relation to that statistic, Hield is also the fastest player in league history to reach 800 made 3s, hitting the mark in just 296 games, nine fewer games than the previous record-holder, Steph Curry.
Hield Growing as an All-Around Talent?
Were Hield’s current 16.1 ppg average to stick, it would mark back-to-back seasons in which his scoring output has taken a hit, which peaked in 2018 at 20.7 ppg. Yet, as Hield’s teammate Richaun Holmes recently noted, Hield’s dip in scoring may mean he’s growing as an all-around player.
“He’s been great knowing when to get off the ball, letting somebody else make the play,” Holmes said, via The Athletic. “Buddy’s been great as a playmaker for us as well as just getting the ball moving. He draws a lot of attention as a shooter, and with him understanding to move the ball quickly and we can get others involved and get the ball moving, it’s hard to guard like that. It’s hard to guard if the ball is moving, and Buddy has done an outstanding job of moving the ball.”
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