“[The Suns] know what they’re doing, I guess; at the end of the day, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
That was the reaction from Archie Goodwin after hearing that the team had traded for Reggie Bullock, another player that, like Goodwin, is capable of playing shooting guard. The former Kentucky standout appeared less than enthusiastic, but more than anything he just seemed unsure.
Unsure of what his future was on the team…
Unsure of the moves the Suns were making…
Unsure of his own day-to-day schedule…
When the Suns took Archie Goodwin with the 29th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the expectations were that Goodwin would take some time to develop. However, many analysts saw Goodwin as a potential steal in the draft, comparing him to players such as Tyreke Evans and Monta Ellis. Both Evans and Ellis were younger than 20 when they were drafted; Archie Goodwin was 18.
However, unlike Goodwin, Evans and Ellis were selected on teams that were able to use their talents right away, as the two saw a ton of playing time early in their career. Goodwin, on the other hand, has played less than 550 minutes for his career (1.5 seasons), which doesn’t compare favorably at all with Ellis, who played nearly 900 minutes in his rookie season alone, or Evans, who played over 2,600 minutes in his first year. Just look at the shot charts from each of the three players’ rookie campaigns, and it’s obvious that the two players not named Archie Goodwin were given far more opportunities to play.
Now, Tyreke Evans was a top five pick, so it would be unrealistic to expect Goodwin to play as many minutes or take as many shots as him in his rookie year, but the case of Monta Ellis is entirely different. Ellis is a player that was selected in the middle of the second round, to a team that already had a loaded backcourt, with Baron Davis, Jason Richardson and Derek Fisher. That trio combined to average 54.4 points, 16.3 assists and 12.8 rebounds in 35.5 minutes per game that year, while the three appeared in an average of 70.3 games apiece.
Despite playing alongside those three really strong guards, Ellis still averaged around 7 points in about 20 minutes per game, and those numbers shot up at the end of the year, as he averaged 11.6 points and 28.2 minutes per contest in the last month of the season.
It wasn’t the same for Goodwin. Not even a little.
As a rookie, Goodwin averaged very similar per-minute stats to Monta Ellis. Goodwin posted 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per 40 minutes, with a true shooting percentage of 50.7 and a below-average PER (10.34); meanwhile, Ellis averaged 15.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per 40 minutes, with a true shooting percentage of 48.6 and a PER of 11.13 in his rookie campaign. The real difference between the two was in the volume of which they played.
Goodwin’s per game statistics paled in comparison to Ellis’, as he averaged less than four points per outing, while playing just 10.3 minutes a night. It wasn’t like Goodwin was ineffective when he was on the court though, as he played well given extended minutes. In games that Goodwin saw at least 19 minutes of playing time, he averaged 17.3 points and 4.8 rebounds, while shooting 71.1% from the floor. Those numbers are nothing to scoff at.
Even this season, Goodwin has made the most of his playing time, and that isn’t limited to just how he’s played on the Suns. When Goodwin has been sent down to Bakersfield, he’s thrived, putting up ridiculous stat lines left and right.
In Goodwin’s D-League debut last year, he posted 32 points and 8 rebounds, and followed it up the very next day with a 27-point, 4-rebound performance. Goodwin would close out his first stint with the Jam by dropping 28 and 25 points on back-to-back nights, while adding an average of 6.0 rebounds in just 30.5 minutes per game. It’s been the same story this season, as he scored 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting in his first game in the D-League, playing only 32 minutes in a Jam victory.
As far as Goodwin is concerned, the question isn’t whether or not he can be a successful player, but rather whether or not he’ll have the opportunity to show what he can do against NBA competition. However, at the end of the day, one problem remains; if Goodwin isn’t on the court, he missing out on valuable NBA experience, not to mention the chance to pull off ridiculous SportsCenter Top Ten plays like this:
That’s the problem: The talent is there. The minutes aren’t.