Brandon Tierney is desperately trying to come up with an NBA comparison for Buddy Hield. There’s Brandon Roy, but Roy was better off the bounce. There’s Mitch Richmond, but Tierney doesn’t love that, either.
So, is there any NBA player, past or present, to whom Hield compares favorably?
“I like Ray Allen,” CBS Sports basketball analyst Wally Szczerbiak said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I really do. The way he shoots the ball, he’s becoming that good. He can shoot it with range, he shoots it off the dribble – I think it’s Ray Allen. Ray Allen was a guy who was pretty good passing the ball and creating for his teammates off pick-and-roll and stuff like that. Buddy Hield, he’s like I used to be: Anytime he takes more than two or three dribbles, you start to cringe – because if he doesn’t get a shot up, it could be a turnover. But I like the comparison to Ray Allen. I really do. I think he’s got some of that to his game. He’s a two-guard with a quick release and infinite range and a high-percentage shooter than can score points in bunches.”
Hield, who is averaging 29.3 points in the tournament, has been an elite scorer all season, but will that translate to the NBA? Will he be a star or more of a niche player?
“It all depends on what team he gets to,” Szczerbiak said. “Listen, I think a lot of people didn’t anticipate Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Steph Curry to be stars. Th fact that they’re in the perfect system with the perfect fit for their games, he could be a star if he goes to a team like Golden State that lets him shoot, lets him get into rhythm. He could score 20, 30 points in a quarter if you let the guy go. But if he gets into a different system where it’s not as offensive-oriented, where it’s not as three-point-predicated and it’s the old adage of ‘You can’t win over the course of a season shooting jump shots,’ then I don’t think he’s going to be as effective. Hopefully he goes to a team where they let his game flourish like Lon Kruger has let his game flourish in college.”
Both Tierney and Szczerbiak feel that the Final Four matinee – No. 2 Oklahoma versus No. 2 Villanova – is more enticing than the nightcap of No. 1 North Carolina versus No. 10 Syracuse.
“These teams are fun to watch,” Szczerbiak said of the Sooners and Wildcats. “It’s must-see TV anytime Buddy Buckets is playing. I’ve watched that guy all year long. He’s captivated me with his scoring ability. I think he should be the hands-down National Player of the Year with what he’s done, scoring 46 points at Phog Allen. And then Villanova, they were the No. 1 team in the country and no gave them any credit. That team flat out is well-coached, they play hard on the defensive end of the floor, they play like a team and they got guys that can shoot the basketball.”
Oklahoma beat Villanova in the Pearl Harbor Invitational, 78-55, on Dec. 7 in Honolulu, but Nova shot 4-of-32 (12.5 percent) from three-point range.
“I think they’re not going to do that again,” Szczerbiak said. “This game is going to be up and down the floor. I think guys are going to get into rhythm, get an opportunity to light up the scoreboard. I am really looking forward to that game.”
Tip-off is at 6:09 p.m. ET.