PHOENIX — As a scorer first, second and third, Suns rookie Archie Goodwin needed a run with the Bakersfield Jam to build up his confidence, and through five D-League games is averaging 26.4 points on 49.4 percent shooting. Goodwin returned to Phoenix for a Tuesday night showdown against the Miami Heat, and he said it was good to see the ball go in the hoop over the course of two successful D-League stints.
“It definitely boosts your confidence, but I never really lost confidence because I am a confident player,” Goodwin said.
The Suns have wanted Goodwin to work on is his jump-shot, which is still suspect. With Phoenix, he’s shot 3-of-28 from three-point range this season but has hit 39 percent on 10-of-26 shooting with the Jam.
Still, Goodwin is at his best when he’s driving to the basket and getting to the hoop. He doesn’t necessarily agree with the assessment about his poor jump shot, but that reflects the rookie’s confidence that makes him such a dangerous scorer.
What he is now looking for is an opportunity to succeed in the Suns’ rotation.
“I know I can score, jump shot is questionable, I guess,” Goodwin said. “I shot ball really well down there and shot a good free-throw percentage, so I think it’s a matter of getting an opportunity and once I get the opportunity, to take advantage of it.
“When you don’t play, you’re not able to show what you’re learning, and once you get in with spotty minutes, it’s hard as well because you don’t have the time being able to play for a long duration.”
Goodwin, who the Suns eyed in the 2013 draft as a future point guard, has a ways to go in that regard. In 177 total minutes in Bakersfield, he’s recorded six assists to 21 turnovers. A 2:1 assist to turnover ratio is considered great for a guard, but Goodwin’s sits at 0.29. Goodwin puts up just 4.5 assists per 100 possessions.
It can be easy to forget that Goodwin is still just a 19-year-old kid, and the second youngest player in the NBA. Being on a team that has a 30-20 record with as much depth as the Suns have makes it a tough rotation for Goodwin to crack. It’s a good problem for the Suns to have, but on the flip side, it can hinder the development of a player like Goodwin.
The Suns have a good idea of what Goodwin is doing — or not doing — with the Jam. For each trip to Bakersfield, they send at least one person from management to keep an eye on their rookie.
And while there’s work to be done, Phoenix won’t fault Goodwin’s efforts to get better. Suns coach Jeff Hornacek has been happy with the progress that Goodwin is making, especially on defense.
“There’s some things he’s been doing better, being ready defensively on the weak side, I thought he did a much better job with that,” Hornacek said. “He’s a great kid in that he’s listening and trying to improve.”