Archie Goodwin had an eye-opening 12-game stretch with the Brooklyn Nets, but can he turn that into an extended stay?On Apr. 4, 2017, Goodwin inked a multi-year deal with the Nets. According to Spotrac, that contract is up after next season. He then enters unrestricted free agency. It’s evident that Goodwin can play, and, after next year concludes, we’ll have a better idea of what he’s capable of because he would’ve spent a full 82 games in the league.
When the signing initially happened, I was skeptical. Goodwin played rather recklessly with the Phoenix Suns during his first three campaigns. He did, however, show flashes. And that’s always encouraging with young players. After landing in Brooklyn, Goodwin made an impact almost immediately. He averaged 15.3 minutes in his 12 contests, but he went out and made play, after play, after play.
By season’s end, his point per game were 7.8, and he did so with radical efficiency. Goodwin limited his outside shots and used to size and athleticism to get to the rim. Overall, he shot 55.7 percent from the field, 62.5 percent on twos and 71.9 percent from the foul line. Additionally, he averaged 2.3 boards and 1.9 dimes in limited action.
He capped the season with a bang — 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists against a Chicago Bulls team that waxed the Nets.
Goodwin has the physicals to sustain a lengthy career as a shooting guard: 6-5 with a 6-9.5 wingspan and outstanding explosiveness. He can matchup with either guard spot, and maybe even small forwards if the opposing team is running a small lineup.
If the Nets want Goodwin to make an immediate impact, it’ll be on defense before offense. With length and athleticism on the perimeter, he can play the passing lanes and just be a pest to opposing ball handlers. Contrarily, Goodwin can’t gamble if the Nets don’t get their defense together, so that’ll be an intriguing development.
Offensively, he’s still a work in progress. Fortunately, the situation in Brooklyn is better than in Phoenix, so he’ll have ample time to showcase what he’s capable of doing. I suspect they’ll find a way to get him some minutes at point guard just to explore the possibility, but that’s not the best long-term spot for him.
Jeremy Lin, Isaiah Whitehead and Spencer Dinwiddie are going to get all of the minutes at that spot. Goodwin’s a combo guard by nature; he’s got both point and shooting guard skills, but neither is more pronounced. He’s a spark plug first and foremost, someone who gets the ball, put his head down and just goes. Clearly, it’s working. However, most shooting guards are either well-rounded scorers or have unstoppable go-to moves.
To Goodwin’s credit, his first step is remarkably quick. And his handle is good enough for him to wriggle through multiple defenders — not on every drive, but often enough. As he spends more time in the league, defenders are going to sag off because he’s an unproven jump shooter.
Of the 66 field goals Goodwin attempted this past season, 45 came inside the restricted area. He shot 60 percent, which is outstanding. However, defenses didn’t force him into many jump shots and, even though he shot a modest percentage, the sample size is so small that leaving him open isn’t the worst thing in the world.
NBA.com states Goodwin attempted 21 jumpers this year and made nine of them. Of those, 15 came from three, and he bucketed just five. If Goodwin wants to make the leap as a scorer, he’ll need to refine his jump shot. He doesn’t need to turn into Klay Thompson, but adding a one-dribble pull-up or shooting 38 percent from three would make him a much tougher guard because he’ll have other moves in his arsenal.
Once he becomes a more polished scorer, being able to create for others would be even more beneficial for him. Despite not being a natural point guard, Goodwin has a decent IQ and doesn’t do too much — when it comes to passing, at least. His turnover average is a bit high, but, according to Basketball Reference, only two of his 14 total turnovers were because of bad passes. That’s not an official statistic, but it does give some perspective to how he makes decisions.
Since he’s quick off the dribble, drive-and-kick plays are in his wheelhouse. If a handful of shooters are on the floor, Goodwin can generate a couple of buckets simply by collapsing the defense.
Goodwin is a player who just needs time to figure himself out. Since coming to Brooklyn, he’s made strides on both ends of the floor and proved he was worth a guaranteed contract. It’ll be a different game next year because of circumstance, but he played well enough at the end of the season to stay in the rotation to begin 2017-18. Now, it’s on him to keep building on what he started.