While there's no doubt that 19 year old Archie Goodwin is currently one of the brightest beacon's of hope for the future of the Phoenix Suns franchise, it's also possible that he could be the primary source of frustration and disappointment for many fans next season who are too eager to see immediate results.
Goodwin gave fans plenty of reasons to be excited about his arrival during Summer League, where he was consistently aggressive and at times appeared almost unstoppable.
In addition to demonstrating a knack for attacking the basket and drawing fouls, which he was known for in college, he also showcased what appeared to be an improved and much more reliable jump shot from beyond the arc, shooting an impressive 57%, which was an area of his game he struggled with as a freshman at Kentucky.
His play for the Suns in the Summer League was a breath of fresh air for a fanbase who has been searching for a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
But is Goodwin really ready for prime time?
Perhaps we should take it from the guy who drafted him, general manager Ryan McDonough, who said himself that he believed Goodwin would have been a top 10 pick in 2014 if he had stayed in school another year.
Clearly McDonough saw Archie Goodwin as more of an investment for the future, rather than a "win now" type of player who was ready to make an immediate impact for the Suns.
Conventional wisdom would certainly agree with his assessment, as Goodwin struggled to find his niche at the University of Kentucky last season and looked like anything but a finished product. There was no question about his talent or his potential, but Goodwin struggled to find any consistency and it looked as if the game was just too big for him at times.
Here is a look at his stats from his freshman season at UK:
|2012 - Archie Goodwin||33||31.8||4.8||10.8||44.0||0.5||1.9||26.6||4.1||6.4||63.7||1.5||3.2||4.6||2.7||3.1||1.1||0.5||2.9||14.1|
The biggest positive you can take from these stats is that his aggressive style of play that fans loved about him in summer league was also his trademark in college. Averaging 6.4 free throw attempts per game is very impressive for a guard (and was the highest in the NCAA at any position last season).
However, his 63.7% shooting from the stripe is another story. Add to that his 44% shooting from the field overall, and dismal 26.6% from beyond the arc, and you can start to see why Goodwin hurt his draft stock last season after initially being ranked one of the top prospects coming out of high school.
Goodwin's struggles were further exacerbated when asked to play the point guard position, where the Wildcats were searching for anyone to step up and take the reigns. Although by all accounts, Goodwin is a more natural two-guard, he tried his best at running the point for Kentucky with less than stellar results, as evident from his negative assist to turnover ratio.
Still, there's no question what Archie Goodwin can do...attack, score, and defend. He is super athletic, has a high motor, and plays with energy and effort on both sides of the court.
Since head coach Jeff Hornacek stated that he plans for Goodwin to make an immediate impact this season, this is what I believe the Suns will use to their advantage right off the bat from him. Despite what looked to be an improved jump shot in Summer League, I wouldn't count on him suddenly becoming a three point specialist for the Suns overnight, nor would I hold my breath that the Suns will actually make good on their original plans to make him into a point guard (at least I hope not).
Archie was still learning to play the game at the college level last season, so Suns' fans may do well to temper their expectations for him this year. Goodwin will have to make a huge adjustment to the fast pace and level of talent in the NBA, and for a 19 year old kid who is still so young in not only his age, but in his development as a basketball player, it may be unrealistic to expect much more than the minimum while treating anything else as just a bonus at this point.
I am extremely optimistic about Goodwin's future with the Suns, as I believe he has the potential to be one of the best players on the team in the near future. However, I wouldn't be surprised if this season is more about patience than production.