Suns rookie Archie Goodwin has had a couple spectacular plays that make you say WOW! However, he hasn’t been consistent as of yet this season. He has made some rookie mistakes and his shooting stroke has been off.
Goodwin’s raw talent has been undeniable. In his limited time on the court he shows flashes of such athleticism that makes one wish we could fast forward five years or so to see if he has made the All-Star game yet. It seems inevitable to me that he will at the very least be a meaningful role player for a good team. That’s a pretty good ceiling for a player selected 29th overall.
But we’re not there yet.
Goodwin is only 19 years old. He is so young, you can give any set of mistakes a pass, because it’s all part of the learning process. However, he has a particular characteristic that you want, especially from a young and raw (skill wise) player- a solid work ethic. He’s always working to be better.
Right now, Goodwin excels in transition and individual defense.
When he gets the ball in the open court he gets aggressive, speeds up and goes for the kill. He accelerates toward the paint- then jumps. His incredible vertical lets him hang in the air as if suspended by wires, then he drops the hammer for the vicious dunk.
His long wingspan and lateral quickness help him get in the passing lanes, stay in front of his man, and recover if his man gets by him. He is an above average defender for his age. He still needs to work on team defensive schemes like all rookies do.
Goodwin’s only had one good game, where he finished with 16 points back on November 19th against the Sacramento Kings. That’s his only double-digit game in the regular season against higher-caliber competition.
So, what can Goodwin (and Hornacek as his coach) do to help Goodwin break out?
Goodwin can continue to work on his outside shot with former sharp-shooter Hornacek and the rest of the coaching staff, improving the speed and fluidity of his shot release.
Additionally they can help him understand a smart shot selection. Not that it wasn’t already smart. We don’t know, since he’s spent so little time on the court.
Hornacek should give Goodwin as many minutes as possible. This is going to be very difficult to do seeing as Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green are all healthy and playing at a high level at the same time. One way to squeeze Goodwin some more minutes is to take a few minutes away from all the other guards.
Another way is to utilize the Dragic/Bledsoe/Goodwin lineup that we saw recently. This lineup should not be used during crunch time since Tucker needs to be in for Goodwin at the end of the game for elite defense, corner three-point shooting, and clutch rebounds.
Goodwin needs to be in the game as much as humanly possible during every blowout.
Additionally, Hornacek might want to even throw Goodwin into the starting lineup just to see what he can do in the spotlight with those extended minutes.
The Suns need to figure out how to maximize Goodwin’s current skill set, by getting him the ball in places he can do something with it. He seems like a slasher/cutter so adding in some off-ball screens that give Goodwin space to use his athleticism to driven to the basket would be advised.
Goodwin was a steal in the draft for Phoenix, and since he is so raw, the Suns should try to accelerate that growth on the court. These are some ways to do that though probably only some of them are viable.