Buddy Hield’s outstanding performance in the NCAA Tournament may not be helping his draft position as much as casual fans would assume, according to Jonathan Givony of The Vertical. The high-scoring Oklahoma star has led the Sooners to the Final Four, but an unidentified GM says teams knew what Hield was capable of doing even before the tournament started. Hield had considered declaring for last year’s draft, but feedback from teams placed him in the middle of the second round at best. Now he projects as a top-10 pick.
There’s more from around the world of basketball:
- Hield has impressed NBA executives and scouts who talked to Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops, and one Western Conference exec thinks he could go as high as No. 3. Scotto has Hield atop his list of prospects who have improved their draft stock in the tourney, followed by Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis, North Carolina’s Brice Johnson, Baylor’s Taurean Prince and Iowa State’s Georges Niang.
- Jazz point guard Trey Burke has seen his playing time cut since the trade for Shelvin Mack, but he’s trying to stay positive, according to The Associated Press. “I know I’ll have a long career in this league, regardless of what anybody says,” Burke said. “That’s my mindset. It is a little frustrating because you want to be out there. You know you can help the team. But, for me, I’m looking at the big picture. I don’t really look at the temporary situation. I just try to get better every day. Be the best version of me that I can be.”
- The annual trip to Portland makes Celtics guards Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley nostalgic for the Seattle SuperSonics, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Both Pacific Northwest natives were just teenagers eight years ago when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. “That hurt kids’ childhoods, man, not growing up with a professional basketball team like everyone else had,” Thomas recalled. “It’s tough now, and Portland is the closest team to them. I’m glad I was raised on Sonics basketball.”
- The Thunder have assigned Josh Huestis to their Oklahoma City Blue affiliate in the D-League, the team announced today. Huestis is averaging 13.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.52 blocks in 23 games with the Blue.