Phoenix Suns Guard Archie Goodwin poised to be Breakout Rookie

archie-goodwin-1When the 2013 NBA Draft ended, few people were focused on Archie Goodwin. After all, the University of Kentucky product was only picked 29th overall, and he wasn’t expected to do much, given that he was just 18 years old at the time. But then the Summer League came and everything quickly changed for Goodwin.

The 6’5″ combo guard averaged 13.3 PPG and 3.3 RPG during his seven-game stint in Las Vegas. Perhaps the most telling stat behind Goodwin’s Summer League success was that he hit 57% of his three-point attempts. This is quite an accomplishment for somebody who made less than 30% of their three-point shots in college.

Aside from putting up good numbers, Goodwin has also impressed league observers with his controlled confidence. “It wasn’t a surprise to me how well I played,” he said when discussing the Summer League. “It was a surprise to everybody else. I just feel like I got the opportunity to do the things I was able to do and I showcased it.

archie-goodwin-2“It wasn’t what I learned about myself. It was more or less what I showed everybody else. I was showing everybody else I could do more things than they thought I could.” Goodwin later added, “I always feel like I’m the best player on the court no matter who’s on the court. It’s just a matter of me taking care of opportunities.”

Of course, as NBA fans know, lighting up the Summer League against a bunch of rookies and roster hopefuls is one thing. But competing against the likes of Kobe Bryant and James Harden is an entirely different thing. Star guards like these are used to handling upstart rookies such as Goodwin. And even though the recently-turned 19-year-old has an exceptional ability to get to the basket, he’s going to need more than this to compete with the best.

Goodwin’s new coach, Jeff Hornacek, hit on this topic in a recent interview about his new rookie. “He’s got that ability to get to the basket,” he said before the Summer League. “But when he really attacks the basket, not just think shot. He’s got to think ‘is it open for the shot?’ If not, do something else.

archie-goodwin-3“And those are things that are a little different in the NBA. Things collapse a little bit quicker than in college. In college, once you make the turn those guys can pretty much get to the basket with no problem. In this league, they get around that turn and all of sudden, in their heads they’re thinking “I’m gonna get to the basket” and all of a sudden it’s closed off.”

Obviously Goodwin showed this summer that he’s capable of more than just a quick first step and ability to drive. The 57% clip in which he hit three’s in Vegas shows an improving outside shot. Plus the Arkansas native is a talented and willing defending – a factor which is guaranteed to earn him playing time on the Suns.

It’s quite possible that Goodwin could even step into a starting shooting guard role if he develops early on. The only other shooting guards on the Phoenix Suns roster include P.J. Tucker (6.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG), Malcolm Lee (4.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG) and Gerald Green (7.0 PPG, 2.4 RPG).

None of these guys are exactly All-Stars, so the opportunity is definitely there if Goodwin can seize it. He just has to prove that he can keep hitting outside shots during the regular season and show a nice touch on his floater.