The Blue and Gold acquired the 29-year-old in a six-player trade with the Sacramento Kings involving big man Domantas Sabonis last February.
Hield’s $21.1 million salary for the 2022-23 NBA season makes him the team’s second-highest-paid player behind point guard Malcolm Brogdon.
Hield, who has been pining for a fresh start after five seasons in Sacramento, is out to prove he’s worth every penny.
There have been rumblings the Pacers have been dangling him as trade bait in a potential deal for triple-double machine Russell Westbrook.
However, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard shouldn’t pull the trigger on Hield just yet.
Let’s take a look at three reasons why the Indiana Pacers shouldn’t trade Hield.
3. Hield Is A Valuable Volume Shooter
He has long been known for his incredible shooting prowess since his college days with the Oklahoma Sooners.
He has shot .398 from three-point distance entering the 2022-23 NBA campaign.
He also finished second in the league behind Steph Curry with 262 triples in the 2021-22 regular season.
Buddy Hield finished the season ranked second in the NBA in 3-pointers made with 262, trailing only Stephen Curry. pic.twitter.com/4OpXLMIPFN
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 14, 2022
Hield is the most reliable gunslinger of a team that finished 16th overall in terms of three-pointers made per game.
Taking Hield away from the equation will drastically affect Indiana’s perimeter game.
A rejuvenated Hield scored in double figures in 24 of 26 games since donning a Pacers jersey.
He even scored 36 points – including 8-of-12 shooting from the three-point area – against the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks on February 15.
2. He’s Proven He’s More Than Just Shooting Threes
Here’s the good thing about Hield: he has proven he’s more than just a one-dimensional player.
In his first game as a Pacer on February 11, he had a near-triple-double with 16 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.
Hield had eight dimes in a game against the Detroit Pistons three weeks later.
His 4.9 assists in 26 games with Indiana is a startling difference from his previous 1.9 assists-per-game average with Sacramento.
Since joining the Pacers, Buddy Hield is averaging a career high in assists (4.9 assists per game).
I introduce you to, Buddy Dimes. pic.twitter.com/jSTkVq6uBT
— Alex Golden (@AlexGoldenNBA) April 3, 2022
Hield credited that to the freedom Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle has given him.
If this trend keeps up, we may very well witness the evolution of Hield from mere shooter to a well-rounded virtuoso.
That bodes well for a Pacers team that aims to bounce back from a disastrous 25-57 campaign.
1. Hield Provides Veteran Leadership And Durability
Hield, Myles Turner, Brogdon, and T.J. McConnell form the Pacers veteran core entering the 2022-23 NBA season.
Hield’s chemistry with point guard and backcourt mate Tyrese Haliburton, who he has played with since the 2020-21 NBA season, is another reason why the former should stick around in Indy.
Hield has also been a durable veteran who has missed just three games because of injury or illness in his six-year NBA career.
That’s a breath of fresh air for an injury-riddled Pacers squad that missed the services of McConnell, Brogdon, Duarte, Warren, and Turner during the home stretch of the 2021-22 NBA season.