Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Archie Goodwin looks to the bright future ahead

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns have a lot to be excited about going forward. They have a budding backcourt with heaps of potential. They have a coach and general manager who easily could have taken home awards after their first year on the job. And they have cap space and draft picks to make a 48-win team even better.

But perhaps one of the most exciting, and more known, developments is the potential of guard Archie Goodwin. His recent arrest for allegedly cursing and resisting arrest at a skating rink may raise a small red flag unrelated to basketball but unless something bigger comes of it will be a single blip on the radar.

In a limited amount of playing time, the 19-year-old made an impressive mark with his hard work on and off the court. Goodwin was usually the last person to leave the practice court, sometimes staying over 30 minutes longer than anybody else.

But, hard work does not mean anything without results. Though it was a small sample size, Goodwin did enough to make many excited for what could come.

“Archie is unbelievable,” Suns guard Goran Dragic said. “He didn’t play a lot this season. I already talked with him, it’s his first season, so be patient. You’re going to get opportunity.

“I feel like Steve (Nash) talking to me,” Dragic added about Goodwin. “He was such a positive guy. He was always working hard. He came to the practice when maybe we were down, we didn’t have energy. He and P.J. lift the practice up and everybody have to follow them. Archie demonstrate he’s going to be a great player in this year.”

The question has to be asked: Why so much hype for a player that only played in 52 games?

I mean, he only averaged 3.7 points per game and scored double digits in just four games.

His three point shot is non-existent — Goodwin made five of 36 attempts — defensively he still needs work and he can be wild at times offensively.

His flaws, and a lack of minutes, forced him into a couple stints with the Bakersfield Jam in the D-League. In five games at Bakersfield, Goodwin averaged 26.4 points along with five rebounds per game. The Suns wanted Goodwin to work on the flaws in his D-League stints, and Goodwin made the most of those opportunities by shooting much better behind the three point line — he went 10-for-26 with the Jam — and showed improvement on defense at times.

Goodwin feels like his outside shot, which was criticized out of college for being flat, will improve with more playing time.

“I don’t think it’s really a part of not being consistent,” Goodwin said. “When you play maybe five minutes every four or five games, you might shoot one three every 10 games.

“Nobody’s going to shoot a great percentage. I think it’s really a matter of me being able to get extended minutes and being able to shoot it comfortably and getting into the flow of the game. Then you’ll see the numbers rise.”

Playing time could be increased as soon as next season. Backup point guard Ish Smith is not on a guaranteed contract, which puts Goodwin in the mix for more playing time. How the backcourt shakes out depends on if Goodwin can assume point guard duties to play with Dragic or Eric Bledsoe should he return to Phoenix.

“Just me being so aggressive, it opens up a lot of passing lanes,” Goodwin said in October. “That really was a result of guys sucking in and me kicking it to them. I just have to continue to feed my teammates from my aggressiveness.”

Goodwin’s aggressiveness really showed in the season finale at Sacramento when he put up a season high of 29 points.

Those points came on just 11 made shots and 13 field goal attempts, and they included a three-pointer and six made free throws. Goodwin displayed a little bit of everything that night with his aggressiveness driving to the basket, his high flying dunks and even an improved outside shot. Kings guard Ben McLemore, the seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft, could not stick with Goodwin, the 29th overall pick.

“It meant a lot,” Goodwin said, reflecting on the last game. “Because for me to end the season the way I did with that game, it really shows the dedication I was putting into this.”

Goodwin played one year at Kentucky before deciding to come to the NBA at the raw age of 18 when he was drafted. Being a late first round pick in the draft that saw minimal playing time has made some question whether he made the correct choice in leaving college early. It certainly must have stung a little for the rookie to see his team make a tournament run to the championship game this season before falling to Connecticut.

Though many see his decision to come to the NBA as going against him, Goodwin sees it as another step towards becoming a great player in the NBA someday.

“I knew at the end of the day what I wanted to do with my life since I was 8 years old,” Goodwin said. “Being at school wasn’t going to help me anymore.

“I mean, there was nothing more I really felt like I could do other than win a national championship. You know, that would have been great to win, don’t get me wrong. I credit those guys who went back this year and what they did. That team they had this year was phenomenal. I was turning them all through the whole way. I was their biggest fan,” he added. “Me personally, I feel like I know what I want to do with my life, and I feel like I can be one of the better player to ever to play this game if I just continue to work. For me to be only 19 and have a really bright future ahead of myself as long as I continue to work, listen to my coaches and the rest will take care of itself.”

Goodwin’s hard work throughout the year did not go unnoticed by the coaching staff.

Suns coach Jeff Hornacek had nothing but praise after the season for his two first round picks from 2013 — Goodwin and fourth overall pick Alex Len — citing specifically the improvements on Goodwin’s jump shot.

“Both those guys are probably the two hardest-working guys on the team,” Hornacek said. “They’re in to practice every day. They’re in the weight room. They stay after. They’re working on their games.

“Obviously Archie is changing his shot up some. That’s a very difficult thing to do. I told Archie, ‘When you start doing this, you’re probably going to be worse than you were before. You’re going to have that little downfall and then you’re going to go back up.’ Even in that last game against Sacramento, when he took those jump shots, they looked much better than they did earlier in the season.”

Goodwin’s jump shot is going to be a thing he will need to work on over the summer — gaining weight is the other but it’s been hard for the young guard to put on pounds with his metabolism. Only 12 of Goodwin’s 81 made baskets came from away of the rim and only seven of those came from outside of the paint.

The one thing you can bet on is that Goodwin will put every ounce of energy towards not only improving his jump shot, but improving every part of his game.

After going through exit interviews at the end of the season, the endless worker said he was not taking a day off this summer.

“Nah, I will be in the gym tomorrow,” Goodwin said.

Tags: Archie Goodwin Phoenix Suns

  • MyMets

    Hope the Suns don’t trade him

  • 4everis2long

    According to Hoopshype today, the Lakers are interested in acquiring another 1st round pick. Ok Jimmy B.and Mitch K. I will suggest McD offer you the Suns likely 14th and 18 pick for the Lakers pick if it is a top 6 selection. Look Jimmy and Mitch, McD was an Exec of the Year candidate so he is really shrewd. I will have a tough time trying to sell him on a deal to enrich your franchise but it is worth a shot. Give me 7 to 10 days so he can digest what I am throwing out there. I doubt Cleveland will give you Irving for a #5-9 pick and Minny will probably not give you Love for that either. Well they may sell you some love but it won’t be Kevin Love. Keep your britches strapped, we may deal with ya in due time.

    • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

      Interesting suggestion counselor. I wonder if it has anything to do with Arizona’s PF Aaron Gordon’s impressive athletic testing at Chicago’s predraft combine? He is a bit small, a tab it under 6′-9″ with his shoes on and a wingspan a little shy of seven-feet. BUT his max vertical was half an inch shy of 40″ and he had THE BEST time in the agility run out of all the players who tested. The next four finishers were PGs.

      Coincidentally the latest mock draft at Bleacher Report has Gordon going to the Lakers at #6. Hmmm…….you’ve been craving a PF out of this draft.

      They have T.J. Warren going at #14 and P.J. Hairston at #18. Adreian Payne, Clint Capela, and Zach LaVine are the most notable that could be on the board for the Lakers also.

      Sounds like a solid trade for both teams. Then maybe the Suns get lucky at #27 and find Elfrid Payton still on the board.

      • 4everis2long

        EBJM, I am a bigger fan of Vonleh than I am Gordon because of his reach and build. If we could net VonLeh and your guy Payton (I have heard really good things about) or LaVine IMO it would be an excellent draft. I also notice I believe Draft Express, has the Suns drafting my boy Powell from Stanford in the 2nd round. I read Powell measured out 6’11″ with shoes at the combine. I love his ceiling at the 4 spot.

        • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

          Well it seems either could be available at #6.

          What if the Wolves accepted Frye and the Morri plus the 14th and 18th picks for Love? All three would be on expiring contracts and the Morri could step in as starters moving Brewer to the bench with Frye.

          If it doesn’t pan out, they become players for the ’15 free agents. But Markieff is starting to gain recognition as a Taj Gibson type of player. it might be the best they can acquire and they wouldn’t need to completely start over.

          Lakers don’t have anything but a lottery pick to offer. Love only wants to win. He must have thought about playing with Bledsoe and Dragic instead of primadonna and old Kobe and ancient Nash. The Lakers literally do not have any other player under contract except Robert Sacre.

          His other destination choices are the Bulls and Knicks. Knicks are hamstrung and less than the Lakers to offer. Love and Carmelo together? I don’t think so.

          The Bulls would have to convince them to take Gibson, Dunleavy and Hinrich to make the numbers work and they have the 16th and 19th picks. But they have the Kings and Cavaliers 1st rd picks next season.

          It will be fun to see what offers are thrown at the Wolves. Suns could match the Bulls by throwing the Lakers pick in ’15. I think the Suns could make the best offer.

          • 4everis2long

            Houston is interested and may offer Parsons and Osek. Celtics have a #5 pick and a player to offer.A lot of competition for Love.

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            The key thing is Kevin Love is in the driver’s seat. He will have to agree to his destination or he won’t sign an extension.

            Wolves have Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng, why take Omer Asik? Rockets are desperately trying to dump him and Jeremy Lin. Does Love really want to play ball with Harden who took 22 shots per game against the Blazers and Howard who cried about not getting his? Toss in Kevin McHale who is a mediocre coach I can’t see Love getting excited about the Rockets.

            Celtics have a #5 and a #17 but the reasonable trade that would be palatable to both teams would send Green, Sullinger and Avery Bradley to the Wolves. That leaves the Celtics without a star SG and Kelly Olynyk at center. Love and Rondo do not make them contenders plus it is COLD in Boston.

            The Warriors seem to have the inside lane as the Wolves could get the lesser version of Love, David Lee and Harrison Barnes. But that doesn’t get the Wolves into the playoffs and they don’t get any draft picks. Also the Warriors are in need of a center, Bogut has been in a decline since Amare threw him to the floor.

            IMO whether it is biased or not, is McDonough will pull this off because he can return the Wolves their own pick, throw in the 14th and 18th and the Lakers pick next year. A bit steep? Maybe but the Suns are determined to make a move NOW.

            Why wouldn’t Love want to be THE guy inside with Bledsoe and Dragic running the show?

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            Maybe McDonough could include Miles Plumlee and take Gorgui Deng?

  • 4everis2long

    Oh well maybe Wolves trade K. Love to Lakers. Supposedly his people told Wolves they better trade him this summer because he will walk next summer when he is a free agent. I suspect Minny would welcome the Lakers 6th pick under these circumstances. Supposedly Knicks and Lakers were mentioned as option teams.

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    I’m making the prediction now! Kevin Love will be a Sun this summer! Bank on it!