As crazy as it sounds, when looking back at the 2013 NBA Draft, Ryan McDonough might be judged as much by what he does at No. 30 as what he does at No. 5. The Class of 2013 has been panned for not being top-heavy and for good reason, but late first-round prospects like Archie Goodwin have a chance to be quality, impact players in the league if given the right opportunity to develop.
Whether Goodwin deserves that chance right away, well, that remains to be seen.
What we do know about the Little Rock native is that he can create for himself on the perimeter or in the lane (led Kentucky with 14.1 PPG in 2012-13), has no problem getting to the basket with either hand (especially from the wing) and plays above the rim at both ends of the court.
At 6-foot-5, he’s a skilled combo guard with a quick, attacking first step, an impressive crossover dribble and an ability to push the tempo — whether off a turnover or a missed basket.
While the Wildcats failed to make the NCAA tournament this past season, the bright lights didn’t seem to phase the 18-year-old. Three of his most notable games came on national TV against Duke (16 points, six rebounds, four assists), Louisville (22 points and five rebounds) and Ole Miss (24 points, six rebounds and four assists).
Goodwin clearly has the athleticism, the explosiveness and the wingspan (6-foot-10) to play at the next level, but his shot selection, mechanics and consistency from both the free throw line and three-point range are a bit troubling.
As a freshman, Goodwin had no problem getting off his shot – whether it came off his own dribble or off of a screen from another teammate. His issue was connecting on it. For the season, the former McDonald’s All-American shot 26.6 percent from distance and went 11 straight games during SEC play without connecting on a single three-point shot. He also shot an underwhelming 63.7 percent from the charity stripe.
From Goodwin’s film, it seems most of his shooting woes can be attributed to his lower body mechanics. While his shot and follow through seem to be relatively under control, he doesn’t always release with a balanced frame. One leg is usually bent forward during the release and at times neither foot is firmly square towards the basket. Because of those flaws in technique, Goodwin’s shot has a tendency to be rather flat.
Those seem like fixable habits, although he didn’t do much to impress scouts at the NBA Combine in Chicago.
Without question Goodwin has traits that make him attractive to NBA GMs, but he also showed a side during his year at Kentucky that leaves some cause for concern.
When things were going good for John Calipari and Co. early in 2012-13, Goodwin was going well. But when things went south come February and March, the former Wildcat didn’t always seem as invested in his team’s well-being as he was in his own. (See shot selection in losses to Tennessee on Feb. 15 and Georgia on March 7 for examples)
Combine that with the fact he’s the youngest American prospect in the draft and had trouble holding on to the ball in college (3.8 turnovers per 40 minutes adjusted), and it becomes clear that maturity/experience, or a lack there of, may be the biggest thing holding Goodwin back.
How would he fit with the Suns?
If you’re expecting Goodwin to come in right away in the absence of say a Wesley Johnson or Shannon Brown in 2013-14, you’ll be sadly disappointed.
At this point, he’s a late first-round pick based on potential not instant impact.
In fact, the consensus on Goodwin is that he’s only in this year’s draft because of the impressive crop of freshmen coming to Kentucky next season.
There’s a chance he eventually flourishes into a Jamal Crawford or Tyreke Evans-type of combo guard, but Goodwin probably won’t be ready to play 20-25 meaningful minutes a game until at least 2015 or 2016.
If he presents himself as the best value at No. 30 come June 27, then McDonough would be foolish to pass on Goodwin. However, if names like Allen Crabbe or Jamaal Franklin are still on the board, you’d have to think the Suns would take a pass on the Kentucky standout, after all the team’s roster is already pretty full of “projects” as it is.
And 1 … A second-rounder to consider
Trevor Mbakwe out of Minnesota. Outside of UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, there aren’t a ton of true fours available in the draft, so the Suns would be wise to at least take a look at the 24-year-old should he still be on the late in the second round.
The former Gopher certainly has his limitations at the offensive end — little range outside of eight feet, poor jump shot and only a select amount of post-up moves — but he plays with a high motor, an explosiveness on the offensive and defensive glass and can maneuver his way in the paint for easy baskets.
Mbakwe’s health (tore his ACL in 2011-12) and notable run-ins with the law (arrested for violating restraining order in 2011 and DUI conviction in Sept. 2012 ) have taken a toll on his stock understandably, but he has the potential to be a Kenneth Faried-type player should a team take a chance on him.