Demarcus Cousins is no longer a part of the Sacramento Kings. It sounds strange typing that sentence, as the Kings and Boogie were seemingly bound together for all of basketball eternity, in a strange love-hate relationship that somehow worked for both parties involved.
It was all great until it wasn’t anymore and now the Kings have hit the awkward reset button shipping Boogies off to New Orleans and now placing their franchise in the hands of Buddy Hield moving forward. In fact Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has compared Buddy to Steph Curry.
Source familiar w/ Kings’ thinking: "Vivek thinks Buddy [Hield] has Steph Curry potential.” Am told that fixation was a key driver in deal.
— Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) February 20, 2017
Let me be the first to say that I love Buddy Hield. I am an unabashed Sooner fan and loved every time he rained 3s down on the Big 12, but we need to seriously tap the breaks with the Steph Curry comparisons when talking about Hield and here’s why. If you expect a rookie transitioning to the NBA in his first season to have to live up to the expectations of an NBA MVP and champion you might just be asking too much.
I will say however in Buddy’s defense, his has one skill that is very similar to that of Steph and that is his unlimited range and 3 point shooting. Buddy is by no means a finished product at this point (although he is probably further along than most rookies considering he is already 23 years old). By that time Steph was in the middle of his 3rd NBA season.
The biggest hindrance for Hield and the Kings moving forward is that he will have very little if any NBA talent surrounding him. The Kings will likely move Darren Collison, Ben Mclemore, and Kosta Koufos before Thursdays trade deadline. Rudy Gay is out for the season and will likely still opt out of his contract and move on seeking one last significant contract as a member of another NBA. The Kings will not bring back free agent to be Tyreke Evans either. The Kings will resemble in many ways the 76ers of the past few years (minus all the future draft picks). That’s a rough situation to walk into as a player.
I don’t think anyone outside of a Lebron James or Michael Jordan has the ability to bring this Kings franchise back to relevance at this point. I wish nothing but the best for Hield, and hope one day he is the NBA MVP. I want him to win every game, except for when he steps on the floor against the Thunder. He is however walking into a situation will make his development and success as an NBA player even more difficult now.
Hopefully Buddy can overcome, succeed, and prove all of us wrong.