Kings guard Buddy Hield, who signed a four-year extension worth up to $106MM last month, had been in somewhat of a shooting slump prior to his 41-point eruption on Monday, Jason Jones of The Athletic notes. Hield was averaging 19.0 PPG on 40.9 percent shooting overall and 37.7 percent from deep before he drained 11 3-pointers against the Celtics. Last season, Hield averaged 20.7 PPG on 45.8 percent shooting and 42.7 percent from 3. Hield wasn’t worried about the dip in numbers and with good reason.
“I’m getting the shots; I just need to put them down,” Hield said over the weekend. “I’m shooting the ball confidently — every shot I think I’m going to make. Yeah, the numbers, the shooting percentages don’t look right, but shooting 38 percent from 3 is not bad. But it’s bad for me because people have high expectations for me, and I have really high expectations for myself.”
We have more from the Pacific Division:
- Clippers guard Landry Shamet is unlikely to return during the team’s upcoming three-game road trip but he’s showing progress, coach Doc Rivers told Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link). Shamet suffered a left ankle sprain two weeks ago. The second-year guard was averaging 9.1 PPG in 29.4 MPG over 10 appearances this season prior to the injury.
- Suns center Deandre Ayton is making good use of his time while serving out his 25-game suspension, Gina Mizell of The Athletic reports. He has been working out with the team and participating in meetings and film sessions. Coach Monty Williams has noticed Ayton’s added muscle through weight-room sessions with the strength and conditioning staff, Mizell adds. “It’s a really good time for him to grow,” Williams said. “Not just as a basketball player, but to reflect on a number of things. And it’s a great time for us to put our arms around him and show him that we are a family.”
- Forward Draymond Green is trying his best to display leadership during the Warriors’ injury-related struggles, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. “For me, it can go one of two ways,” Green said. “You can either not have perspective and lose the trust of all these young guys and fail them as a veteran leader. Or you can still try to get everything out of them while teaching them, while trying to win games, but understanding it’s much bigger than that.”