The Kings lost their first five games this season. But they weathered the storm. They won 12 of their next 21 games and got back into the Western Conference race.
It’s raining again.
Sacramento has lost five straight. Buddy Hield sat the entire fourth quarter against the Rockets on Monday, and he played just five minutes between the fourth quarter and first overtime against the Timberwolves last night.
NBC Sports California:
Buddy reveals that the Kings have “trust issues” 👀 pic.twitter.com/lW0zqweO6j
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) December 27, 2019
Hield on how the Kings are handling frustration and connectivity during a five-game losing streak:
It seems like we’re all over the place, the coaches and everybody. Trust issues going on. I guess guys, they stop believing in players. So, it is what it is, man. They have who they have playing out there, and I’ve just got to be supportive. I’m a team-first guy, no matter what. I feel like we should’ve won that before regulations. But I’m not the coach.
Hield on whom he doesn’t trust:
I don’t know. I’m a confident player. I like to be on the court. That’s why I’m on the court, right? I want to make plays, make shots. I feel like I wasn’t trusted the past two games to be on the court. So, as a player, no matter what, I feel like it’s my job to go out there and compete at a high level. And guys know that if I’m struggling or not, you’ve still got to ride the wave.
Hield on whether he was surprised to re-enter the Minnesota game late:
Surprised? I don’t think they even want to put me out there. The reason why they put me in was because they were down by three, I feel like. They need a 3-pointer, they call on me, so I’ve just got to do my job. That’s what I had to do, do my job. Regardless, I’m a team-first guy.
Hield has struggled during the losing streak, shooting 29% on 2-pointers and 23% on 3-pointers. He’s not playing well enough, no question. Hield is a scorer. When his shots aren’t falling, his shortcomings – like defense – become even more aggravating.
But Hield is also a good player. I’m not sure how much Kings coach Luke Walton is accomplishing by cutting Hield’s playing time. Will that help Hield make more shots? Or is this just a random cold streak? Just because Hield has missed shots lately doesn’t mean he’ll keep missing them. Recent prior shooting results on a small sample are a poor predictor of future shooting.
Maybe Walton is trying to send a message about Hield’s all-around game, that defensive effort should be better. That could come during a hot shooting streak, but obviously wouldn’t.
As is, Walton is clearly lighting a fire in Hield – for better or worse – while sacrificing Sacramento’s spacing. Even when missing, Hield draws defenders.
I’m not sure whether sitting Hield is worth it. Walton has a better sense of the teams internal dynamics and should be better positioned to make that judgement.
Hield sometimes has emotional responses. It paid off with his contract extension.
We’ll see whether this helps him – and the Kings.