The New Orleans Pelicans must contain the Kings’ bench.
You know Buddy Hield marks the calendar every time he has to play the New Orleans Pelicans.
After being drafted by the Pelicans, he was traded away as part of a package for DeMarcus Cousins, and at the time the entire league thought the Pels had fleeced the Kings.
It turns out they didn’t, as Cousins is no longer in the league, and Hield has evolved into a valuable shooting guard for the Kings.
He will obviously be looking for revenge against the Pelicans and may be the single most important player for them to stop.
Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball will likely take turns covering De’Aaron Fox, and have done a good job on him this year, holding him to 17 points in their last meeting on five of 14 shooting.
Lonzo takes his matchup with Fox personally, as the two were rivals in college and part of the same draft.
It’s Hield they have to worry about.
The New Orleans Pelicans’ bench has to step up.
Hield scored 24 points against the Pelicans in their last matchup, hitting four of seven from the three-point line and adding 12 rebounds.
He also turned the ball over seven times, so the Pelicans were getting to him, but they still let him have too many open shots. Hield started the last game, but will likely come off the bench in this one, which presents even more problems for the Pelicans.
The Pels’ bench defense has not been good, which was evident in all three games so far. In the last game against Memphis, backup guard Grayson Allen scored 17 points, hitting five of six from behind the arc.
Hield is better than Allen, so the Pelicans have to do a better job containing the Kings’ bench guards.
They need to put a body on Hield at all times and make him put it on the floor and not just give him open looks as they were to Allen.
I have faith that Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball will put the clamps on Fox, but they have to slow down Hield off the bench.