Hield, Ayton and Jones active in NBA preseason debuts


HORNETS forward Kai Jones (23) dunks in the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder October 4 in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)


SACRAMENTO Kings guard Chavano “Buddy” Hield reacts following a three point basket during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game on Monday.The Kings defeated the Suns 117-106. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas)


Tribune Sports Reporter


NBA basketball is officially back and all three Bahamian born players in the league were active as their teams made their respective preseason debuts.

Chavano “Buddy” Hield and Deandre Ayton faced off in the first preseason matchup for both teams October 5 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.

Hield finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists in his Sacramento Kings’ 117-106 win over Ayton’s Phoenix Suns. Ayton finished with eight points on 4-6 shooting, three rebounds and a blocked shot in just 12 minutes.

Ayton followed with his first double double of the year last night in the Suns’ 117-105 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

The fourth year centre finished with 14 points on 6-12 shooting from the field and added a game high 11 rebounds in just 22 minutes.

The Suns will face the Lakers again on October 10 and will conclude the preseason against the Portland Trailblazers on October 13.

The Kings will continue the preseason with an October 11 matchup against the Trail Blazers and will close out against the Lakers on October 14.

Kai Jones made his NBA debut with the Charlotte Hornets in their preseason opener, a 113-97 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He finished with four points on 2-3 shooting from the field and added four rebounds in just over eight minutes.

In the offseason, Jones said his intention is to establish himself as a player known for his effort above anything else.

“Once you have that reputation they know you are going to go hard, they are going to want to play with you and that’s good for chemistry,” Jones said.

“I’m growing every day so I’m constantly talking to coach Borrego about what he wants me to do on the floor and just trying to be efficient,” he said.

Just months into his NBA career, Jones is already looking forward to adding elements to his game.

“I’ve been working on touch shots a lot more, jump hooks and stuff. I never really used to work on that too much but like I said you can’t just dunk everything. I’m going to try to dunk everything, but I’ve been getting my reps in a lot. I have to expand my game,” Jones said. “It’s just about consistently doing my job the right way.”

The Hornets will continue their preseason tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies. They close out the preseason against the Miami Heat on October 11 and Dallas Mavericks on October 13.