Category: NBA

Welcome to the Valley of the Suns

Simba French

 Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22). AP

Bahamian seven-foot center DeAndre Ayton said he wanted to do a backflip, a near impossible task for a man that height, when he got confirmation that his team, the Phoenix Suns, acquired veteran point guard Chris Paul (CP3) in a trade this past abbreviated offseason in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Paul was one of several new pieces that the Suns added to their roster. Another one of the Suns’ key pickups was defensive specialist Jae Crowder.

In Paul, they get a seven-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member and two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team player. Not to mention, they get a 10-time NBA All-Star. Crowder is known around the league as a tough defensive player who can add tenacity and depth to a contender. He is coming off an improbable run with the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals last season. Ayton is looking forward to being on the court with the duo and feed off the defensive knowledge that they bring to the team.

“Knowing that we have to compete every day – that competitive spirit that they got is a norm. Being on defensive teams is not a given, that is somebody going out there competing every day on both ends of the floor. That is all those dudes do – we are going to have to do it. They have already stamped in this league that they are known for that,” Ayton said. “Me and Book (Devin Booker) are known for offense but we need that defense. I want to be that presence at the rim. Just them being defensive players already and knowing that they are going to be vocal and tell us young guys how to do this – not that we don’t do it, but them just giving us constructive criticism, is going to help us so much.”

The Suns finished in the middle of the pack in defensive ratings in the league last season with a rating of 110.8. With a locked-in Ayton on defense along with Paul and Crowder, the Suns are expected to finish higher this season. Last season, Ayton averaged 1.5 blocks per game, an improvement from 0.9 in his rookie season.

The third-year center was in the NBA bubble restart in the summer, helping the Suns finish with a perfect 8-0 record during that time. Ayton said that he and Booker spoke when they were playing in the bubble and that he told him what they can do in the league, and that they can compete in this league. After the bubble experience, he said he is willing to put in the required work.

“Coming out of the bubble did something to me – working every day, having this professionalism and being this professional that I am, and embracing that and actually approaching my craft seriously where it is like ‘Dude if you’re not with this then get out of here’,” Ayton said. “I worked so hard coming out of the bubble that I am not worried about what’s next. I know that these results will make their way, that is how hard I am working every day. I thought I was working hard during the suspension and my injuries, but no.”

The 2018 number one overall draft pick in the NBA said the two new acquisitions can help him develop and he is willing to learn more from their winning mindset.

“They are winners -– that is the biggest difference, they win,” Ayton said. “Being around a winner who probably won more than 10 games or like 14 games in a month – that is the type of people who I am going to be around. What that immediately does is when you win about five games and the hype is on you, those dudes handle that type of hype. Being in the bubble, we only had eight games. What about when its 72 games and we won eight in a row? We have more to go and to have those teammates who are going to say, ‘We ain’t do anything bro, like relax we ain’t do anything’. We are going to have that maturity on the team to tell players that we are not there yet and that is what we need.”

The Suns get their 2020-2021 regular season underway on Wednesday, December 23 when play the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The game will tip off at 10:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN.

They tip off their four preseason games on Saturday night when they take on the Utah Jazz in an away matchup at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. That game will tip off at 9 p.m. and will be aired on NBATV.

‘Buddy’ Hield And Kings ‘Are All On The Same Page’

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield.

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield.

Thursday, December 3, 2020


#Tribune Sports Reporter

#THE growing speculation continues to mount about Chavano “Buddy” Hield’s future with the Sacramento Kings organisation after different messages emerged from the franchise’s head coach and top ranking executive.

#New Kings General Manager Monte McNair expressed his excitement to see Hield “let free” in the team’s system, but head coach Luke Walton would not commit to Hield as a full time starter despite the departure of Bogdan Bogdanovic in free agency.

#Hield was the team’s leading scorer in 2018-19 and its second leading scorer in 2019-20, but started just 44 of 72 games before he was relegated to a reserve role off the bench in favour of Bogdanovic.

#“I think I’ve said in the past Buddy’s such an incredible talent, and especially his shooting at an elite level is something that we saw this offseason was at a premium. I think we’re really excited to see him in this system,” McNair said in his pre-training camp media availability. “I think Buddy is going to look really good in [the offence], excited to see him in training camp and how he can progress there. I have the utmost confidence Buddy will continue to play hard every night, like he always has.”

#While reports have emerged this offseason that Hield has not spoken with Walton, McNair said the organisation and the fifth year shooting guard are on “the same page” with each other.

#“I’ve talked with Buddy as well as his agent, I think we’re all on the same page,” McNair said. “I think we’re really excited to see Buddy kind of let free in this system. I think he’s going to be fantastic.”

#Despite coming off the bench for 28 games, Hield was second on the team in scoring at 19.2 points per game. Hield was removed from the starting lineup in favour of Bogdanovic in January and continued to see inconsistent minutes for the duration of the season, culminating in season low minutes when the NBA resumed play at the “bubble” in Orlando, Florida. Bogdanovic signed with the Atlanta Hawks this offseason and most NBA pundits interpreted that as a sign the organisation would move forward with Hield as the team’s starting shooting guard.

#Walton addressed Hield’s role during a Zoom conference call in his media availability ahead of training camp.

#“We’ve got a lot of new faces here, so we have to continue to look at what’s going to be best for our team. Even last season, Buddy started more than half of the season, and when he didn’t start, he played a huge role for us coming in off the bench and being a dynamic 20-point-a-night scorer,” Walton said.

#“Every decision is always based on what I feel is best for the group and best for the team, and with this training camp, this is part of what we have to see: what do we have? What groups are playing well together? Who complements who? And at the end of the day, every decision that gets made will come down to what I feel as the head coach is best for this team and giving us the best chance of winning.”

#Hield enters the first year of his new four-year $86 million extension that could reach as much as $106 million.

#“Buddy is a very talented player, I’ve always had a good relationship with him and we’re excited that he’s part of the group.”

#Following the Kings’ regular season finale, Hield spoke with reporters on several topics, most noteworthy was his reply when asked whether he would be content to continue his role off the bench next season.

#“Y’all know me, y’all know how I talk, y’all know how I feel with a lot of stuff, yall can read me well, so I’ll let y’all answer that for yourselves,” Hield said.

#McNair singled out Hield at his introductory press conference to the franchise and called him an “elite shooter” whose spacing is important for the team.

‘Buddy’ Scorching Hot On His Return To Court

Sacramento Kings sharpshooter “Buddy” Hield scored 45 points, including 13 made three pointers, to lead his “Pink Parrot” team to an 82-72 win in the Skinz League Tournament at the Hive Sports Complex in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Sacramento Kings sharpshooter “Buddy” Hield scored 45 points, including 13 made three pointers, to lead his “Pink Parrot” team to an 82-72 win in the Skinz League Tournament at the Hive Sports Complex in Edmond, Oklahoma.

As of Friday, June 12, 2020


#Tribune Sports Reporter

#Chavano Rainer ‘Buddy’ Hield returned to the basketball court for competitive play for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined the NBA.

#The Sacramento Kings sharpshooter participated in the Skinz League Tournament at the Hive Sports Complex in Edmond, Oklahoma, as the NBA nears its imminent return.

#Hield scored 45 points, including 13 made three pointers, and led his “Pink Parrot” team to an 82-72 win.

#Amateur basketball has resumed in several states that have progressed to their phased re-openings, therefore summer leagues like the Skinz League are off to an early start.

#League founder Chris Skinner began the tournament five years ago and he estimates that approximately 90 per cent of the league’s 160 players played college basketball.

#Around 25 per cent are professional players from overseas, the G League or the NBA. This year’s appearances from NBA players have been highlighted by Hield and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young. Both played collegiately for the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma City Thunder wing Darius Bazley also competed in this year’s tournament.

#“If you know anything about the basketball world, if one player’s doing it, the other players will do it,” he told Sports Illustrated. “So if I get one big-time player, it’s kind of like now, people see Trae [Young] playing, so now I’m getting calls all the time about this guy’s trying to play.”

#In just over a month, Hield and the Sacramento Kings will return to the court at the NBA level as the league prepares to return to its 2020 season on July 30.

#The league’s board of governors approved a proposal for the NBA to resume play in Orlando, Florida, featuring the 16 teams currently in playoff position and eight teams currently within six games of 8th place in the two conferences. All games will be hosted at the Walt Disney World Resort.

#Teams will officially begin training at team sites in July and will advance to full training camps in Orlando prior to regular season play. The Kings are 28-36 – No.10 in the Western Conference and 3.5 games behind the No.8 Memphis Grizzlies (32-33).

#The NBA has suspended its season since March 11, when Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert was the league’s first player to test positive for COVID-19.

#Through 64 games this season, Hield is averaging 19.8 points per game and is shooting 40 per cent from beyond the arc, making 3.8 three-point field goals in about 10 attempts per game. Hield also added 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

#Hield started 44 of those games and was moved to the bench on January 24 and has continued his production post-All-Star break after he won the Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest at NBA All-Star weekend last February.

#This season, Hield has 244 three-point field goals thus far.

#He was on track to surpass last year’s total of 278 and possibly become just the third player in NBA history to make 300 in a single season.