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‘They say I’m thirsty’: For Hield to be prolific, Kings need to embrace good with bad

Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) exults as he tied the score against the Houston Rockets in the second half on Wednesday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) exults as he tied the score against the Houston Rockets in the second half on Wednesday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee

Is there ever a good reason to be labeled thirsty?

 
Opinion

There is if you’re Buddy Hield. Now it’s up to the Kings to make sure he’s not dehydrated.

Hield’s thirst is necessary for the Kings to have a consistent source of potent offense, and that won’t happen if he’s passive.

The thirst comes with risks. There will be times when Hield launches a shot and you cringe at the degree of difficulty. You’ll wonder if he saw an open teammate (one you can see, of course, on a television screen) when he chooses to put up another shot.

Doesn’t matter. Be thirsty, Buddy.

Hield wants to be a well-rounded player, but let’s not be silly. He’s not going to be the team’s facilitator. He averaged 11.8 shots and 15.1 points in 25 games with the Kings last season after being acquired from New Orleans. Those numbers should increase. Hield is likely to be the Kings’ most prolific 3-point shooter by the end of the season.

“I’m a shooting guard, so I’m trying to get as many shots as I can get,” Hield said. “They call me thirsty on the team. They say I’m thirsty because I’m always trying to get a shot up. Just trying to find rhythm shots, don’t take bad ones and stay in the flow of the game.

“I’m going to take some bad ones, that’s just what comes with shooters. ... But you’ve got to stick to the offense, make plays for your teammates and have fun.”

Thirsty Hield should be fun. He’s not considered selfish, so his teammates are willing to feed him the ball in good spots. He’s capable of quickly turning around a game with his ability to get hot from the perimeter.

“I’ve been reining him in, making him play the way we want to play,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “So then you treat everybody that way, but then for certain guys at any moment you give them a little more latitude, and I think he’s one of those guys. You’ve got to let him take a bad shot now and then to loosen up find a rhythm.”

Joerger will work with Hield to help him pick his spots.

“It’s just coaching,” Joerger said. “You develop a relationship and just talk to him and communicate and try to show guys where their good ones are, where to attack and where’s there other times you move on to the next thing.”

Looking ahead

The Kings host New Orleans on Thursday, which will be DeMarcus Cousins’ first time playing at Golden 1 Center as a visiting player since being traded in February.

Cousins loves Sacramento, but did not love being traded from a place he never wanted to leave. He’s also high on Kings rookie De’Aaron Fox, who like Cousins played at Kentucky.

That being said, Cousins is going to try to make everyone in a Kings uniform pay.

Trending up

Willie Cauley-Stein opened the season with back-to-back double doubles. His longest such streak last season was three games.

Trending down

So much for the chance of rookie guard Bogdan Bogdanovic getting off to a hot start. He has missed the first three games of the season with a sprained right ankle, so we’re forced to wait to see what he might bring in the regular season.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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