The Sacramento Kings made a rather curious decision to trade forward DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans Sunday night in a near-trade deadline blockbuster. Despite recent assurances by the Kings front office that Cousins would not be dealt, the fact that the Kings unloaded Cousins was not a huge surprise, as trade rumors involving Cousins had become commonplace during this time of year and the offseason. The head-scratcher here was what the Kings received in return: Buddy Hield and a 2017 first and second round pick, amongst others. Most experts believe the Sacramento could have bargained for more value for the All-Star Cousins. The following day, a report surfaced possibly shedding light as to why the Kings may have thought this was a good trade…
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 (@BaxterHolmes) February 20, 2017
Vivek is Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive. The comparison he makes, as some have opined, is a bit of a stretch. In his first season in the NBA with the Pelicans, Hield has averaged 8.6 points on 36 percent shooting from three-point range. Of course, Curry is one of the best players in the league and reigning unanimous NBA MVP. He also averaged more than twice amount of points (17.5) and shot 43 percent from three-point range as a rookie with Golden State.
The comparison is flawed obviously. But, Ranadive wasn’t the only person to compare the two.
Last April after Hield ran roughshod over four opponents during the NCAA Tournament while leading his Oklahoma Sooners to the Final Four, Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, when presenting Hield with the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year award, said he thought Hield had a more-rounded game than Curry.
“I don’t think any of these players can guard him, just like Steph Curry, they can’t guard him,” Robertson said. “Plus, [Hield] can go inside and he can rebound. It means a lot also other than being [a shooter], he’s a great basketball player.”
One column on the ESPN New Hampshire website suggested that the Celtics, who were looking at a high draft pick in the upcoming draft, should draft Hield. From the article, titled “Could Buddy Hield have a Steph Curry-like impact for Boston?”:
“…And if the Celtics play it smart, they could reap the same benefits Golden State is right now.”
“What Hield has done at Oklahoma this season has, in dramatic fashion, reworked the expectations placed on his talent. His performance has been so striking this that it is difficult not to mentally entangle it with the NBA ascension of Stephen Curry.”
Ranadive, who was a co-owner of the Warriors during Curry’s first couple seasons, seems to be really hoping that Hield fits Curry’s profile. At least he can feel secure that he isn’t the only one who has made this comparison. However, for now, and probably forever, Curry > Hield.