For New Orleans lottery pick Buddy Hield, however, reality came quickly over the first five weeks of the 2016-17 regular season. The No. 6 overall draftee shot a frustrating 23.7 percent from three-point range in October and November, a far cry from his 45.7 accuracy rate as a decorated senior at the University of Oklahoma. Both from a team and individual standpoint, Hield’s early struggles were very unfamiliar, particularly for a player who was a consensus national player of the year and led the Sooners to a Final Four appearance in April.
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Hield may look back at a return to Oklahoma as a turning point in his rookie campaign. After playing only mop-up minutes in one-sided games vs. the Lakers and Clippers, on Dec. 4 at the Thunder, Hield racked up 16 points in 15 minutes, draining four three-pointers. The very next night, Pelicans second-year head coach Alvin Gentry moved Hield into the starting five, a role the former track star has taken and run with, highlighted by red-hot shooting this month. The recently-turned 23-year-old is shooting 50.0 percent from beyond the arc in December (23 of 46), a span roughly coinciding with him becoming a starter. (NBA.com)
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