For Buddy Hield, patience is more than a virtue as playoffs approach

Sixers Hield
Philadelphia 76ers’ Buddy Hield warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Since joining the Philadelphia 76ers at this season’s trade deadline, Buddy Hield’s performance has had its peaks and valleys. With a roster depleted with injuries through the season and missing its MVP, the Sixers acquiring Hield provided much-needed guard depth and spacing.

In his first six games with Philly, he averaged 19.3 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game. His spacing and surprising playmaking were a breath of fresh air as teams were deploying strategies to take Tyrese Maxey out of the game. Hield created chemistry quickly with Paul Reed, providing some nice passes in the pick and roll, allowing Reed to take advantage of extra attention on Hield.

Since those six games, Hield’s play seemed to dive, and with it went his consistent minutes in the rotation. In his last 24 games, his average dipped to 10.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Not only had his average dipped, but his shooting percentage dipped as well, and many could see frustration brewing.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) and Philadelphia 76ers guard Buddy Hield (17) attempt to grab a loose ball while running out of bounds during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 3, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

During this stretch, Hield had some good performances, but with his minutes dwindling, he started to do other things to stay on the court. There were nights when he provided extra possessions for the Sixers by getting offensive rebounds and diving for loose balls, showing the coaches he could provide more value than just three-point shooting.

With Joel Embiid returning to the lineup, the coaching staff hoped to be able to unlock Hield even more. Dribble hand action with Embiid and Buddy Hield could be a deadly combination on offense but since Embiid’s return, they haven’t really run many actions to build chemistry.

Hield: ‘Everything is about trust and patience’

Sixers hield
Philadelphia 76ers’ Buddy Hield warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

After Tuesday night’s victory against the Detroit Pistons, Hield talked about being patient and letting the game and chemistry with Embiid come to him. He spoke about patience when asked about his 18-point performance, including five three-pointers.

You know, just patiently waiting..just feel out things, feeling out (with) Joel back, learning guys as everyone comes back. Waiting for everything to develop, and I know that things will always work out.

When asked about his chemistry with Joel Embiid directly, he responded by saying: “Everything is about trust and patience..he’s always being doubled, and we trust him to make the right read.”

This isn’t the first time Hield has cited patience. On March 27, after the Sixers’ controversial loss against the Los Angeles Clippers, PSN’s Zach Ciavolella spoke to Hield after the game about getting back into a rhythm offensively. Once again, he stated that patience is the key.

With just two games left in the regular season and the play-in/postseason on the horizon, Hield can hopefully build on his performance against the Pistons. His patience will be key as he tries to figure out how to help the team by knocking down shots and doing other things to contribute. If his career is any indication, his patience will pay off, and he will be a big part of the Sixers’ postseason run.