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#pounditSunday, October 17, 2021

Damian Lillard criticizes Kings coach over handling of Buddy Hield

Dave Joerger

Sacramento Kings coach Dave Joerger has been criticized this year for the way he has handled some of his young players, and one of the NBA’s biggest stars feels he saw a perfect example of that on Thursday night.

The Kings lost a tough game to the Golden State Warriors that ended when Buddy Hield missed a fadeaway jumper from the top of the key. Joerger clearly was not happy with the former first-round pick.

But that wasn’t the whole story. A few possessions earlier, Hield dribbled up the court with the Kings trailing 123-117 and pulled up from about 30 feet. Though he drained the shot to cut Golden State’s lead to one possession, he still caught an earful from Joerger.

It seems like that exchange between Hield and his coach resulted in Hield being gun-shy on the final possession. To his credit, Hield took responsibility after the game and said he had “no excuse” for not taking the three-pointer. However, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard ripped Joerger for his coaching methods.

Hield is averaging 20.5 points per game in his third NBA season, and he’s one of the main reasons Sacramento is in the playoff hunt. While he has a tendency to take some ill-advised shots, some of them have worked wonders in past games this season. You can understand why a coach would want a player to avoid those low-percentage plays, but scolding Hield in the middle of the game probably wasn’t the right approach.

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