Sacramento Kings

Joerger sees ‘conscientious’ Hield adjusting to Kings’ offense

Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger during pregame against Brooklyn Nets

Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger during pregame against Brooklyn Nets.
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Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger during pregame against Brooklyn Nets.

A week into working with Buddy Hield, Kings coach Dave Joerger has formed one early opinion of the rookie guard.

“He’s a very conscientious dude,” Joerger said.

Hield, whose shooting is considered one of his primary assets, had his first off-night from the floor in a Kings uniform Monday against Minnesota. He finished with eight points on eight shots and made just 1 of 5 3-point attempts.

30.8 Buddy Hield’s 3-point percentage in his first three games as a King

His lone make, though, came with 19.2 seconds left in a blowout loss as Hield did what is often suggested for scorers in a slump: Keep shooting.

“You want to keep giving him that confidence,” Joerger said. “Also when you know where your shots are coming from, it makes it easier. He’s still trying to get a rhythm.”

Joerger suggested Hield is “still trying to do the right thing sometimes” instead of playing freely as he adjusts to a new offense and teammates. After practice Tuesday, Joerger and Hield spent several minutes talking about how Hield should move around the floor in the Kings’ system.

Hield was 14 for 28 from the floor in his first three games as a King, including 4 for 13 (30.8 percent) from 3-point range. With New Orleans, Hield shot 36.9 percent from beyond the arc, and Joerger expects that number to rise.

“He’ll benefit from the ball being moved, or if (defenses) have to double-team somebody or help stop the ball,” Joerger said. “Get a couple of those going, that feels good.”

New lineup – Kings rookie forward Skal Labissiere made his first start Wednesday against Brooklyn, with Joerger using his fourth different starting lineup in as many games since the All-Star break.

Labissiere has appeared in just 12 games this season, but his playing time has spiked since the break. He scored a career-best 12 points against Denver on Feb. 23 and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds Saturday against Charlotte.

Guard Arron Afflalo also returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games because of a sore left hamstring.

You want to keep giving him that confidence. Also when you know where your shots are coming from, it makes it easier. He’s still trying to get a rhythm.

Dave Joerger, Kings coach, on Buddy Hield

Rough day – Point guard Ty Lawson was available against the Nets after being termed questionable earlier in the day because of gastroenteritis.

The internet had some fun with Lawson’s diagnosis. On Tuesday, he went on Instagram asking his followers for “a bomb taco Tuesday spot in Sacramento.” He later posted a picture of the tacos he apparently acquired.

Before Wednesday’s game, Lawson said only it had been a “long day” – and did not divulge where he’d eaten the day before.

“I’m not gonna say,” he said. “Not gonna put anybody on blast.”

Quick recall – The Kings assigned rookie center George Papagiannis to Reno of the NBA Development League on Wednesday morning, then recalled him before the Brooklyn game. He was in uniform and on the bench.

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