In this year’s NBA Draft class, there are two top draft prospects in LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram. After those two, it is anybody’s guess as to who is the third best player in the draft, but one of the popular choices is Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield.
Hield was the most prolific college basketball player last year, winning the Wooden Award, Naismith Award, and Oscar Robertson Award. His shooting ability has scouts excited, but there are questions about his ball-handling and defensive ability.
Heading into the draft, Hield is looking to change those perceptions of him, and according to ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider), is getting some help from Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant along the way:
Hield hears the criticism and has been spending most of the past six weeks tightening up his handle and working on his explosiveness in an effort to improve his lateral quickness. He has even received some on-court tutoring from Kobe Bryant.
With the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 taking place in Anaheim this year, Kobe was able to see Buddy up close and came away impressed. Hield even noted that his outstanding performance in the Elite 8 was due to seeing Kobe in the stands.
Apparently Kobe was impressed enough that he decided to work with Hield ahead of the draft. For Hield, the opportunity to work with one of the NBA’s greatest players is something that can’t be measured. As he looks to answer the questions that scouts have about him, Kobe can help him do so and teach him the tricks of the trade.
With the Lakers holding the second overall pick, the likelihood of them drafting Hield is slim if they remain in that position. Of course with the potential of trades, anything is possible, but it would still come as quite a surprise if Hield ended up in the same colors as Kobe.