Taking a closer look at Archie Goodwin’s developing game
It’s easy to forget that Phoenix Suns guard Archie Goodwin is only 21.
In his third NBA season, Goodwin is younger than 35 of the 60 players selected in the 2015 draft!
Categorizing Goodwin as a third-year player isn’t necessarily fair either — he’s played over 20 minutes in 22 of the 119 games he’s participated in and compiled 1,469 minutes total. Five of those 22 are Phoenix’s last five games and seven total in the month of January.
Devin Booker has played more than half of that in only 40 games. Goodwin, from an in-game perspective, is basically still a rookie. With Eric Bledsoe out for the season, and Brandon Knight dealing with an injury, it’s finally Goodwin’s chance to show what he can do with consistent run.
The majority of the minutes are coming at point guard recently, which most likely won’t end up being his long term position. The opportunity is still good for his development, forcing him to play with the ball in his hands and make decisions.
Goodwin is not close to being a finished product, but the Kentucky product is showing signs of why he was taken with the 29th pick in the 2013 draft.
Over the last nine games (26 minutes per), Goodwin’s averaging 13 points on 9.8 shots, hitting 43 percent from the field, 35 percent from three and 70.8 percent at the line. He’s adding three assists and 2.2 rebounds.
Here is what his shot chart looks like (last nine games):
Where Goodwin does the most of his damage is at the rim and at the free throw line. He’s taking 62 percent of his shots in the restricted area as he finds ways to attack the rim. Goodwin’s no longer just a streaking car shooting down the highway during a straight-away, he’s diversifying his drives.
Goodwin’s comfortable — arguably favors — driving to his left despite being a righty. Even when on the opposite side he still finishes with his strong hand. There’s change of pace and hesitation moves, plus a jump through. The darting straight ahead drives are also still in the arsenal.
Technically, the 62 percent number at the rim isn’t all that accurate. That’s doesn’t count the fouls he’s drawing to get 5.3 free throws per game. Three-fourths of his points are coming in the paint or at the foul line. For the season, Goodwin has a free throw rate of .643. James Harden’s is .522.
The jumper isn’t where it needs to be, but there are flashes of competence. This flaw isn’t as noticeable because of Goodwin’s shot selection — for a young player he’s pretty disciplined with not forcing up bad looks from the outside. If anything, he should take a few more instead of pushing into a crowded lane.
There’s other season-long trends for Goodwin that are positive. His assist percentage (AST%) and turnover percentage (TO%) are heading in the right direction for the third straight year. Goodwin’s AST% has gone from 5.7 as rookie, all the way up to 15.9 this season. His TO% started out at 18.7 in year one, down to 15.1 now.
Goodwin’s showing the ability to find his teammates as he attacks the rim and is learning to hit the kick-out to the three-point line. His passing isn’t at the level of a prototypical point guard, but he’s showing the potential to be able to grow into a secondary ball handler.
Improvements are also going to have to be made at the defensive end.
On the ball, Goodwin isn’t doing a consistent job of containing dribble-drives. He’s not getting low enough in his defensive stance and is also dying on screens.
It’s important for Goodwin to use smart positioning and his lateral quickness with his slight frame. A good on ball defender knows his scouting report, giving him the ability to anticipate moves rather than react to them.
There are more issues away from the ball too. He’s standing up straight the majority of the time, sometimes with his man one pass away. His arms dangle loosely rather than in a quick twitch position — Goodwin has a 6’9.5″ wingspan that he needs to learn how to use.
If I were to guess what Goodwin will develop into five years from now, my bet would be on a first guard off the bench, playing around 25 minutes per game.
In a few more months, we will finally have a more clear look into Goodwin’s future.
All stats in this story are from basketball-reference.com or NBA.com