By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
BUDDY Hield concluded the Sacramento Kings’ 2019-20 season with one of his traditional streaky shooting performances and a win over an in-state rival.
Hield finished with a game high 28 points in a 136-122 win over the Los Angeles Lakers yesterday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
He shot 10-17 from the field, including 8-14 from three-point range and added five rebounds in 27 minutes.
The Kings fell short of the playoffs but ended their eight-game run in the Orlando “bubble” with consecutive wins and a 3-5 record overall. They finished the regular season 31-41 and missed the playoffs for the 14th consecutive season, one shy of the NBA record.
In 72 games this season, Hield averaged 19.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and three assists per game. He shot 43 per cent from the field and 39 per cent from three-point range.
A season of highs and lows for the veteran guard began with a contract dispute and featured several milestones on the court.
In November, Hield concluded his contract negotiations with the Kings and reached the most lucrative deal ever signed by any Bahamian athlete when he agreed to a four-year, $94 million contract extension.
Loaded with bonuses, the deal includes $86 million in base guaranteed money and the remainder based on performance based incentives.
The first stage of incentives Hield has to reach for the $8 million dollar bonus have been described as “exceedingly reachable” (finish in the top 10 in the league in three-point percentage).
Had the sides not reached the deal, Hield could have become a restricted free agent next summer. Hield was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract (four-year, $15.9-million) and was eligible for a rookie scale contract extension (up to $158.1 million over five years).
Once play began, the sharpshooting guard emerged as the Kings’ leading scorer in an injury plagued season for the franchise. He made a Kings record 11 threes in a 41 point effort against the Boston Celtics on November 25 and also made nine threes in a January 27 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves when he scored 42.
Hield made 271 three point field goals this season and moved ahead to No.3 on the Kings’ all-time three point shooting list behind Peja Stojakovic and Mitch Richmond. He became just the third player in NBA history with at least 270 threes in a season. He also has the longest active streak of consecutive games with a made three-point field goal at 66 games.
Earlier this season, Hield shot 9-10 from beyond the arc in a win over the San Antonio Spurs and became the fastest player in NBA history to make 800 career three-point field goals. He accomplished the feat in just 296 games to surpass the mark set by Stephen Curry, who did it in 305 games.
In his four-year career, Hield has made more three-point field goals than any other player in his first four NBA seasons with 865.
He surpassed the previous record of 828 set by Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Hield started 44 games this season before he was moved to the bench January 24. He continued his production during the All-Star break by becoming the 2020 Mtn Dew Three Point Shootout champion.
Hield needed a nearly perfect final round to win the title and the Grand Bahama native did just that to highlight his appearance at the league’s All-Star Weekend. He posted a final round of 27 points, and clinched the title on his final shot to defeat the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker.