Buddy Hield’s elite shooting versus Kansas propels him up draft boards

Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Monday night’s college basketball game between Kansas and Oklahoma came at the right time for the Sooners’ Buddy Hield. Both teams were ranked No. 1 in the nation as the Associated Press and Coaches Polls were split, college football bowl season had just wrapped up and Sunday was the final day of the NFL’s regular season. Those circumstances created a perfect storm that made the matchup ESPN’s most watched Big 12 conference Big Monday game ever.

While plenty of NBA scouts were likely to watch Hield’s matchup against one of the best defensive teams in the country anyways, the spotlight gave the Bahamian native a chance to shine in front of a broader audience. Hield, a 6-4 guard, delivered in a big way despite being on the losing end of a 109-106 triple overtime loss. The 22-year-old senior finished with 46 points on 13-for-23 shooting from the field. He also added eight rebounds and seven assists. Hield’s most valuable NBA skill was on display as he knocked down eight of his 15 3-point attempts against the Jayhawks, showing the ability to convert shots in a variety of ways.

Hield is a very good catch-and-release shooter. He gets the ball off quick and can shoot with a small amount of space:

Hield is also a capable 3-point shooter in transition. 23.3 percent of his made 3s have come in transition this season, according to Hoop-Math. He fills transition lanes well and is comfortable pulling up off the dribble, even after a made basket as he did here:

The NBA’s deeper 3-point line also shouldn’t be a problem for Hield, who has shown plenty of range in college:

Monday night’s explosion was not that abnormal of a night for Hield. As a senior, he is shooting 50 percent from behind the arc, raising his career 3-point percentage to 37.4 percent. Hield has also scored 30 or more points five times this season. When the Sooners traveled to Hawaii over Christmas, he dropped 86 points on 43 shots over three games.

Hield is currently ranked 28th on our Big Board and it’s unlikely that he’ll fall out of the first round anytime soon. While there are certainly some concerns — he’s already 22, he doesn’t have elite size for the shooting guard spot and there are reasonable questions in my mind about his ability to create his own shot — Hield has shown elite shooting skills this season that should make him a sought after commodity come June.