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.