Sacramento guard Buddy Hield.
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
MIAMI, Florida — For the second consecutive year, Buddy Hield has an opportunity to represent his franchise and the Bahamas during NBA All-Star Weekend.
Hield was one of 20 players selected to the rosters of the 2018 Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars, to be hosted Friday, February 16 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
The game will be broadcast live on TNT and ESPN Radio at 9pm.
Hield is averaging 12.5 points per game on 44 per cent shooting both from the field and three-point range along with 90 per cent from the free throw line. He was also selected to play in the 2017 contest, then as a rookie and a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.
“It’s just an honour and a blessing to be selected, especially to represent the World team.
“It just means a lot to be able to show where I came from and represent the Bahamas as well,” Hield said during yesterday’s shoot-around ahead of a matchup with the Miami Heat.
He scored 24 points, including four three-pointers, dished out one assist and grabbed five rebounds in 29 minutes on the hardwood.
“The plan is to just go out there and have fun, appreciate the accomplishment, try to win the game and have fun at All-Star Weekend.”
Hield’s three-point percentage is tied for sixth best in the league among qualified players and he has been quite vocal about his desire to also participate in the JBL 3-Point Contest.
“You’ve got to go out there and show them why you should be in it, hopefully I can still do something to stand out. If it comes it comes, if not, there will be more years for that,” he said. For the fourth consecutive year, the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent during All-Star Weekend will feature 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the U.S. against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world.
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 includes five rookies and five second year players. The 10 players hail from nine different countries. Joining Hield on the World Team will be his Sacramento Kings’ teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia), 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 U.S. Team features seven rookies and three second year players.
Headlining the team will be reigning Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, Malcolm Brogdon of the Miluwakee Bucks. The remainder of the team includes 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.
NBA opening-night rosters for the 2017-18 season featured 108 international players from a record 42 countries and territories. This marked the fourth consecutive season that opening-night rosters included at least 100 international players and that all 30 teams had at least one international player.
The NBA’s assistant coaches chose the rosters for the Mtn Dew Rising Stars, with each of the league’s 30 teams submitting one ballot per coaching staff. Coaches selected four guards, four frontcourt players and two players at either position group for each team. They also picked a minimum of three first-year players and three second-year players for each team.