Jordan Goodwin aims to wear down Suns opponents

Jun 30, 2023, 10:12 AM | Updated: 11:35 am

Jordan Goodwin, Wizards...

Jordan Goodwin #7 of the Washington Wizards brings the ball up court against the Houston Rockets during the second half at Capital One Arena on April 9, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Ties to St. Louis brought Bradley Beal and Jordan Goodwin close together starting in the latter player’s middle school years, when Goodwin played for NBA hooper’s AAU squad.

The relationship between Beal and Goodwin will remain close with the trade that shipped both of them from Washington to the Phoenix Suns.

“Just having him in my corner still to this day is always just a blessing,” Goodwin told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Friday. “Brad does this to all his kids back in his program, back in St. Louis. I’m not getting any special treatment, he always does it for his kids.”

But not every kid gets to play with Beal as a pro.

Goodwin stayed close to home and played four years for the Saint Louis Billikens, where he set a school record for career steals. He went undrafted, latched on with the Wizards’ Capital City Go-Go and broke out for the NBA team this past season.

The 24-year-old calls Beal his big brother and a mentor. As teammates, that relationship has grown deeper. Beal has become an All-Star, but Goodwin could vie for real playing time on a roster needing complementary players like him — ones who are frequently described as “dogs.”

“He’ll be a fan favorite just from his work ethic, his dog-like mentality when he’s on the floor,” Beal told Wolf & Luke Thursday. “He’s going to compete at a high level when he comes into the game, every single moment. I’m excited that he has an opportunity to flap his wings over here and showcase what he can do. … He wasn’t just somebody who was thrown into the trade. He can be a very valuable part of our team.”

Goodwin’s profile is unique.

He’s listed as 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, a good size for a point guard. A former football player, he has the physicality to be considered a smaller wing, a switchable piece who last year flashed signs of a three-point shot that will go with off-the-ball playmaking ability as well.

Go look at his college stats, and you see the physicality shows up in his rebounding.

Goodwin averaged double-doubles his last two college seasons. For his St. Louis career, he averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game.

For the Wizards last season, he averaged 6.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game on 45% shooting and 32% accuracy from deep in 62 appearances.

Goodwin’s identity begins on the defensive side of the ball.

“I try to guard whoever is the best player on the opposite team, try to make it hard, physical for ’em, wear ’em down, pick ’em up fullcourt, things like that,” Goodwin said. “On offense, I feel like I’m still developing a lot of parts of my offensive game. But definitely a way better shooter, still improving there — very good playmaker. I’m pretty solid on both ends but I hang my hat on defense.”

Another St. Louis-to-Wizards connection will vouch for Beal’s evaluation of Goodwin, that his NBA potential is there.

“He’s always been labeled a ‘dog’ and not in a bad way,” former Washington guard Larry Hughes told NBA Sports Washington this past April. “He’s always been in the trenches, leading offensive rebounder from a guard position. The only thing he was lacking was the confidence on the offensive end. … Certain things these guys do in college, it may look different in the NBA.

“So he got his chance in the NBA, a lot of people didn’t expect him to make it where he’s made it. So shoutout to J-Good, man.”

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