Would Archie Goodwin give 'em hell if he stayed at Kentucky?

Archie Goodwin, by all accounts so far in his brief NBA career, seems humble. He’s been polite and at the same time assertive enough to point out he has flaws. The biggest issue is his age — that made him a fringe first-round pick after a so-so freshman year at Kentucky. But when Goodwin visited Phoenix for a pre-draft workout, he mentioned that proving he belonged with grown men was important in helping his draft stock.

It didn’t go all that well, apparently.

Goodwin went 29th to the Suns, right about where many mock drafts listed him. And now Goodwin isn’t accepting that fact but using it as motivation, he told SLAM Magazine during the Rookie Transition Program.

“It would have been great to have been drafted where I thought I should have been,” Goodwin told SLAM during last week’s Panini photo shoot portion of the Rookie Transition Program. “Now every team that didn’t pick me, I’ve got to give them hell.”

“I know a lot of guys in this [Draft] class are not better than me,” said Goodwin. “I’m blessed to even be here, but to see how far I slid down—it was a surprise. Every game I go into, I’m showing every team that didn’t pick me that they made a mistake.”

That’s good for Phoenix, because every other team in the league but one passed on Goodwin. And the one that didn’t, the Golden State Warriors, traded down rather than pick the former Kentucky Wildcats guard.

So now a burning desire to prove doubters wrong — an overused storyline but one relevant because so many pro athletes are happy with a paycheck — has already been sparked in Goodwin, which goes along with the makeup of a player that we’ve seen on the court thus far.

The reckless slashing and attacking was a sign that Goodwin, who turns 19 this Saturday, has the desire to exceed in the NBA. Goodwin’s fundamentals have some holes but he’s already showed improvement. In the Las Vegas Summer League, he was too loose with his handle and struggled around pressure defense. But Goodwin’s jumper looks fixable and was even more successful than anticipated. And he made up for his flaws with his strengths.

There’s a chance Goodwin would have worked his way up in the 2014 draft class despite its depth and talent — but maybe not. ESPN’s Chad Ford released his first big board for 2014, and even if Goodwin improved greatly, it’s hard to see where he’d fall.

Seven Kentucky Wildcats fall in Ford’s very early top-30. He has power forward Julius Randle going No. 2 overall, followed by point guard Andrew Harrison (7th), center Willie Cauley-Stein (14th), small forward James Young (20th), small forward Alex Poythress (21st), center Dakari Johnson (25th) and shooting guard Aaron Harrison (26th).

That’s a lot of minutes to go around, Coach Cal.

That’s also half a lottery’s worth of players on Goodwin’s own college team to potentially go ahead of him, though to be truthful, it’s unlikely all seven head for the pros in 2014.

Anyway, it’s quite likely Goodwin would be making his “give them hell” comments next year, for who knows what team, had he stayed in Lexington. Good thing for the Suns, that will remain speculation.

  • Roger

    Suns are lucky Goodwin opted for ’13 draft otherwise he would be sure shot lottery pick in ’14 – in essence we got two lottery picks in ’13. And a huge opportunity to mold, support and nurture a young one by professionals like Horny instead of Cal at Ky. Not saying Cal would’ve been bad for Goodwin but with so much talent on Ky team, it would’ve been impossible for college coaches to provide the time and energy this young man would’ve needed to grow.

    Thank you, McD. Fine job of drafting a potential future super star!!

  • Scott

    I hear Randle is like Bennett, in that he plays only offense and takes defense off.

    If so, I suspect how Bennett fares this year may figure into where Randle falls in the upcoming draft.

  • Noitall

    I have a different perspective on this mentality. While I am all for someone having the self-motivation to prove their worth through hard work and improvement, I certainly do not like this idea that it is the faults of others not to recognize something this kid believes about himself. I also don’t like the trait of kids who clearly cannot take critique and pass that critique off a others simply being wrong or ignorant.

    Goodwin is basically saying that it isn’t that he was not good enough in some fashion or another to warrant being selected higher, but that those who passed on him did so incorrectly and it was their mistake.

    He is basically ignoring a glaring oversight on his part, some mistake HE made in giving those teams pause to select him higher. Rather than proving them wrong, maybe he needs to fix that mentality in order to be the kind of player that can take criticism, ingest it, and actually use that to change something he is doing for his own benefit.

    I always felt, after listening to Amar’e speak, that we had seen the best he had to offer. Sure, he made some dramatic improvements early on, but as his career hit a crescendo here, his comments always leaned toward him having all the answers and everyone else not adjusting to him. Same problem with Beasley. Just last season he states that the coaches don’t know anything and that it is their fault for his situation. It is a common theme among cocky kids to believe they are better than they are and anyone who tells them otherwise is sorely ignorant.

    While I like Archie’s efforts so far, and I see promise in his game, I also am hesitant to believe that the mentality he is showing is one of maturity, nor is it one where it will allow him for any sort of humility to allow coaching and learning. I hope I am wrong.

  • Cactus Dan

    @Noitall, I agree that time will tell whether Goodwin’s attitude is that of confidence with maturity or arrogance.

    However, I want players with that swagger. Not every player that has this kind of confident arrogance is a great competitive player, BUT every great competitive player has this confident arrogance, they think they are the best and will tear down anyone who disrespects them.


  • http://none Sillmarillion

    I’m no ESPN Insider and I can’t read the linked article :(

  • Cactus Dan

    @Sillmarillion Here is the important part of the article:
    “The 22-year-old Brady was just as confident as the 34-year-old version that takes the field every Sunday for the Patriots.

    “I still have the image of Tom Brady coming down the old Foxboro stadium steps with that pizza box under his arm, a skinny beanpole, and when he introduced himself to me and said ‘Hi Mr. Kraft,’ he was about to say who he was, but I said ‘I know who you are, you’re Tom Brady. You’re our sixth round draft choice,’” recalled Kraft. “And he looked me in the eye and said ‘I’m the best decision this organization has ever made.’”

  • john

    People actually pay to be Insiders?

    And regarding cockiness vs. confidence, I think there’s not much to suggest at this point that Goodwin leans more to the cocky side than any other particular elite athlete like him. It’s definitely true that a lot of nobodies have thought much higher of themselves than they deserved (like Beasley, as was mentioned), but it’s equally true that a lot of the all time greats have used their doubters as motivation to get the most from their talent (like Jordan, for instance).

    I haven’t read one article that claims anything other than Archie is humble, polite, and down to earth. Now, at this point in his career, there isn’t a whole lot of a reason to bash the kid, so I know those glowing reports need to be taken with a grain of salt, but I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt before I assume he’s the next Michael Beasley.

  • Foreveris2long

    Well said John. I have no problem with Goodwin’s swagger. I saw Beasley in college and hated him and he has done nothing to change my opinion of him. Sometimes you can pick up on certain vibes about a player and Beasley in my opinion was one of those guys. There is nothing I dislike about Goodwin which is why I will be very patient with his development on and off the court. I just like the kid.