Buddy Hield goes up for a dunk during the All-Star Rising Stars game.
(AP Photo/Mark J Terrill)
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
IT was an active weekend for Buddy Hield during the NBA All-Star festivities in Los Angeles, California.
Hield participated in the Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge, the Taco Bell Skills Challenge and he was also one of several players who hosted various NBA Cares Clinics over the weekend.
The second year Sacramento Kings guard helped the World Team to a 155-124 win over Team USA at the Staples Center Friday night. Hield’s numbers were in MVP contention with 29 points, five made threes, three rebounds and three assists. However, his Kings teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic would go on to win the award. “You know, it was (an) All-Star Game, so it wasn’t like a really competitive game,” Hield said. “But the World has been getting better. I’m proud to see a lot of guys around the world from France, Australia, you have (Joel) Embiid from Cameroon. Everybody is showing progress, and the World is showing progress catching up to American basketball. This shows how hard we’ve been working and how dedicated we are to this game.”
Hield had a productive two-year run in his eligibility for the game after he scored 28 in the 2017 edition of the game as a rookie with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The 24th Rising Stars is the first with Mtn Dew Kickstart as title partner, with the brand expanding the event into a yearlong platform showcasing up-and-coming NBA players.
The World team included five rookies and five second year players. The 10 players hail from nine different countries. Joining Hield and Bogdanovic on the World Team were All-Star starter Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Dario Saric (Croatia) and Ben Simmons (Australia) of the Philadelphia 76ers, Jamal Murray (Canada) of the Denver Nuggets, Dillon Brooks (Canada) of the Memphis Grizzlies, Lauri Markannen (Finland) of the Chicago Bulls, Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania) of the Indiana Pacers and Frank Ntilikina (France) of the New York Knicks.
The US Team featured seven rookies and three second year players.
Headlining the team was reigning Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The remainder of the team included Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks, Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, Dennis Smith Jr of the Dallas Mavericks and Kris Dunn of the Chicago Bulls.
Hield was also a late addition to the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. Hield went head-to-head with eventual champion Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets, but missed the three-pointer on the obstacle course.
“We had a good game plan. I just didn’t make the shot, an easy one. I was ahead. It’s all good though.” Hield said.
“It was good, it was fun. Something you didn’t believe would happen in your lifetime, so embrace it and thank God for me being here. I had fun doing it, I wouldn’t mind doing it again.”
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge consisted of Hield, Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets and Lou Williams of the LA Clippers as the guards in the eight-player field.
The big men in the competition included NBA All-Star Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, All-Star Al Horford of the Boston Celtics, rookie Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls and defending champion and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons.
Hield is averaging 12.5 points (.437 field goal percentage, .425 three-point percentage and 873 three throw percentage), 3.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals and 23.7 minutes per game in 55 contests (started 11) in his second season.
He leads Sacramento with 114 three-pointers made and is tied for ninth in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage.