LAS VEGAS — Buddy Hield is "great," he will tell you. He is "fine."
The shooting slump that marked the New Orleans Pelicans rookie's first two games in the NBA summer league aren't weighing on him.
But even if he wasn't flustered by shooting 30 percent through two games, Hield admits he's still finding his way in pro ball.
"My routines are off big-time," he said. "I'm getting up shots in the morning, trying to get rest. The coaches always preach rest to me. The routine is different, but I'll adjust to it and get in my rhythm."
In college, Hield was accustomed to arriving early for a game — typically two hours before tipoff — to get up shots. Here, he shoots around in the morning, and with games stacked one on top of the other, there's little pregame court time.
That's just one adjustment for a player making a lot of them as he makes his first foray into the NBA. Hield and the Pelicans played their third summer league game Monday night, their last before tournament play, and the first two mostly were rocky.
Hield made 12 of 40 shots in his first two games. He finished 6-for-22 from 3-point range.
And Hield, the sixth pick in last month's NBA draft, isn't alone in needing time to adjust.
Six of the top 10 players selected in the draft — Hield, No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram of the Lakers, No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown of the Celtics, No. 4 pick Dragan Bender and No. 8 pick Marquese Chriss of the Suns and No. 7 pick Jamal Murray of the Nuggets — made less than 40 percent of their shots through their first two summer league games.
Brown (25 percent), Bender (18.2), Dunn (16.7) and Murray (14.3) all have shot worse from 3-point range than Hield, as has 10th pick Thon Maker of the Bucks (12.5), though all on significantly fewer attempts. Hield's 22 3-point tries were twice as many as Bender's, who was the closest rookie through two games.
Despite his shooting struggles, Hield's 17 points per game through two summer league games were second among top 10 picks only to Dunn, who averaged 24 points.
And in his second game here, Hield showed some signs of the shooting form that drew NBA teams to him during a stellar career at Oklahoma. In one fourth-quarter stretch against the Jazz on Sunday, he made four straight 3-pointers.
"I needed that, for sure, to build my confidence," he said. "I'm a guy that builds off confidence."
After a 3-for-13 start against Utah, Hield made 4 of 7 shots to close the game.
"(Against the Jazz), he did a little better being a little more patient, waiting on screens, waiting for the offense to open up opportunities for him," Pelicans summer league coach Robert Pack said. "Got some open looks; they just didn't go down. But he made a few. And I thought the shots he took were better shots today, and he'll keep getting better."
Like all rookies here, Hield is early in the process of learning the NBA game, and it's a mixed bag.
Just as he has shown flashes on offense, there are times on defense when Hield is dialed in defensively. He was better in the fourth quarter against the Jazz, Pack said, than he had been in the first three.
"His effort is there (defensively)," Pack said. "Some timing, execution of coverages — he's still a little late on his pull-ins, getting in and getting back out to a shooter. And he knows it. All that stuff will come. He's working hard."
Hield intends to keep working hard. He figures he'll settle into a routine and his shots will drop. Until then, he's learning valuable lessons about life in the NBA.
"This experience has been great," he said. "When you play, that's when you get the most experience. When you play bad or you don't play how you want, mentally you've got to stay focused and locked in."