Despite limited playing time, Archie Goodwin flashed plenty of potential for a 19 year old rookie with an impressive Summer League debut, dominating performances in the D-League, and by finishing the season with the best outing of his young career.

So how awesome was it that Goodwin sacked Sactown in the team's final game this season? As far as grading goes, it's akin to killing his final exam. Although he definitely put an exclamation point on his rookie year with that 29 point career high performance, most of his season was much more sedate. Depending on how you want to look at it, Archie was a casualty of the Suns success.

In the end, there just wasn't a lot of spare playing time left over for a 19 year old rookie on a playoff contending team. That played into Goodwin having two quick stints in the D-League this season, one at the end of January and one in early February.

In five games (two starts) for the Bakersfield Jam Goodwin averaged 26.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He shot a very respectable .494 from the field and .385 from three point range. He even shot .810 from the line on an impressive 8.4 attempts per game. The only real blemish on his record there was his 4.2 turnovers per game.

In a way, though, that's more cause for relief than a harbinger of future NBA success. I mean, really, what NBA player doesn't excel in that type of environment? See Marshall, Kendall.

But let's get back to the association. Here's a fun stat (now that we can make light of the hellish season just two years back).

In 2012-13 the Suns had seven players who finished with a WS/48 of 0.00 or lower (negative). Wesley Johnson, Hamed Haddadi, Kendall Marshall, Marcus Morris, Michael Beasley, Luke Zeller and Diante Garrett.

Yes, those guys were all on the Suns. What a cringeworthy collection of talent.

The magnificent seven combined to play 4,021 minutes for a net of -2.2 wins (2.2 losses).

Are you wondering where I'm going with this?

For the 2013-14 season Archie Goodwin had the lowest WS/48 of any player on the Suns... it was .018. Better than nearly half of the 2012-13 roster.

That he finished lowest on the team in this category isn't really a knock on Archie, either, it is just a testament to how every single player had a positive impact on the team.

Goodwin made 52 appearances during the season and averaged 10.3 minutes per game. The spot duty makes his 3.7 points per game look pretty anemic, so I'm going to focus on per36 numbers. His averages of 13.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals were pretty middle of the pack in terms of the team.

What stood out to me was where Archie was getting his shots and his success rate. Goodwin was second on the team in percentage of field goal attempts at the rim (.545) behind Viacheslav Kravtsov. He was getting more looks at the rim than Miles Plumlee and Alex Len. Then, by getting himself good looks Goodwin managed to tie Goran Dragic for best 2P% at .542.

Goodwin's biggest deficiencies were 3P% (.139), FT% (.673) and turnovers (3.0 - third worst on team). Not a surprise.

Basically Archie's stats are indicative of exactly what we expected from him this season.

Goodwin has flashed brilliance since I saw him in his Las Vegas Summer League debut in which he scored 13 points against the Portland Trail Blazers summer squad.  What Ryan McDonough told me that day after the game still resonates with me as to what embodies Archie as a young player.

"Archie didn't shoot the ball very well (in college), that's an area he absolutely has to improve on, but he really knows how to get in the paint," commented McDonough. "He knows how to break down defenses and get to the basket."

What I saw in him that game translated to the NBA court as well...

Goodwin attempted a game high six free throws, making four, while displaying a mesmerizing combination of quickness and fluidity. Maybe graceful would be a fitting adjective?

That was the first time I saw him play in person, and I still think it embodies what he does fairly succinctly.

But in addition to the fluidity, I also saw some ferocity this season.

The best thing about these report cards is that all the writers here have total creative license to use any qualitative or quantitative methods they choose. Even the format is completely flexible. Maybe some will just be reviews and eschew my grading criteria completely. (Jim shakes fist)

In limited exposure Archie showed enough to give hope that he has the potential to grow into an effective player at this level. By all accounts he is a great teammate with an exemplary work ethic. He was even the consummate performer by leaving us wanting more after the season finale, but in the end he didn't do that much more than I expected. I think next year he'll have a better chance to crack the rotation, though, especially if he's in the gym shooting free throws and three pointers all summer. Maybe he can hit the weight bench, too. After all, he's only 19 and hasn't even grown into his NBA body.


Grade: B

PHOENIX — Even heading into the summer of 2012, Suns president of basketball ops Lon Babby thought Phoenix was a prime free agent landing spot. Then, there was little to sell. Now, the Suns can...

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"Hey, that guy in the uniform that is not purple and orange looks familiar. Didn't he play here? Great, now what am I supposed to do?"

By now the point has been hammered home hard enough by local and national media alike -- The Phoenix Suns didn't make the playoffs. Time to put that tool down before you knock down the structural integrity of your basketball knowledge. Good?

Now the NBA Playoffs still roll on and a unique thing about the Suns, and by my own admission I have no clue if other teams experience this because I do not track their rosters as closely, but the concept of Former Suns In New Places creates a unique basketball viewing experience right now. There are a lot of them. especially in the past 3-4 years when the team was overturned, rebuilt, and redone more times than Romeo & Juliet or King Kong Movies... They happen a lot.

So when those players go elsewhere do you have a natural urge to root for them to succeed?

When they were a part of "your" team obviously the thought would unanimously be for that player to be the best they could possibly be. Naturally, there is a bitterness towards success when you fell just shy of that same goal so a rooting interest in a former player might be tougher in this circumstance. For the most part ex-players become that way under amicable circumstances with outliers existing, but generally an ex-player is the same as a friend moving to a new city or a breaking things off with a significant other where you both knew this was fun, but not that serious.

Now if that girl started dating a good friend right away or your friend that moved starting working for a rival company, then it is natural to root against the overall success of their surroundings, but do you have to root against them personally?

We live in a very negative and bleak world where if something good is not happening for us as an individual we do not know how to sit back and appreciate success for another.

This roster was turned over seeing 37 different players in four years wear a Suns uniform for at least 20 or more games. That formally excludes Caron Butler, despite his efforts as a fashion model for the new uniforms before the season. With eight new players this year, four players that have been here 2+ years, one old face returning (Leandro Barbosa), and long standing holdover (Channing Frye) this is a team that has a lot of players in other uniforms this time of year.

What is the Standard Operating Procedure for rooting for them then?

Jared Dudley is a major fan favorite, but now resides on the Los Angeles Clippers bench with former head coach Alvin Gentry. He is a division rival much like Jermaine O'Neal on the Golden State Warriors.

Shawn Marion and Vince Carter are on the Dallas Mavericks, a heated Suns playoff rival when considering Steve Nash (not in the playoffs this year) and the two dynamic offenses.

Right now former big men Marcin Gortat (Washington Wizards), Michael Beasley (Miami Heat), and Luis Scola (Indiana Pacers) are jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference while Robin Lopez (Portland Trail Blazers) is doing the same out West. Gortat and Lopez were not necessarily appreciated here in the Valley for their own unique reasons, so it is tougher for most fans to appreciate their success.

Most of the former Suns players were here for a cup of coffee and then were out. It just happened that way as the different regimes were trying to figure out what this team was going to look like long-term.

Every year there is turnover, some years more than others, so why not root for, or at the very least appreciate, the success of these players in their future endeavors? The concept is tougher for the Nash's of the world who angle their way out to a division rival, but he also won a few MVPs out here and did some tremendous things. Same for the Marion's, the Dudley's, the Gortat's, and maybe not so much for the Beasley's or the Turkoglu's.

On the whole, as sports fans -- Can we root for former players in the playoffs?

Time to hand out some awards.

The NBA regular season is officially over. That means it is time to hand out some meaningless awards to players who will never see them. Everyone else is doing it, so I felt obligated to throw my picks out there as well.

My criteria is different for each award and is completely arbitrary. If you disagree with my selections, you are wrong.

Without further ado, here are my awards. I spent a lot of time making these, so I hope the recipients appreciate them.

Coach of the Year

Candidates: Steve Clifford (Charlotte), Jeff Hornacek (Phoenix), Gregg Popovich (San Antonio), Tom Thibodeau (Chicago), Doc Rivers (Los Angeles - the good one)

There are a lot of deserving coaches this year. Some of them have been winning for years, while others have impressed in their first season.

Steve Clifford has done a terrific job turning the Bobcats around in one year. They went from a laughingstock to a playoff team and are playing some of the best defense of anybody right now.

Everyone here knows just how good of a job Jeff Hornacek has done for Phoenix. The Suns improved by 23 games from the previous season. They were 28th in offensive rating and 23rd in defensive rating a year ago, and this year they jumped to eight and 15th, respectively. 11 of the 15 players on the roster had a career year (the other four being Channing Frye coming back after a year off, Leandro Barbosa, Shavlik Randolph and Slava Kravtsov). The Suns were one of the best stories league-wide this season, and that's due in large part to the work of Jeff Hornacek.

Gregg Popovich led the San Antonio Spurs to the top record in the NBA, finishing as the only team to crack the 60-win barrier at 62-20. The only three players on the roster to play 75 games or more are Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli and Boris Diaw. The regular starting five combined to miss 75 games, while Manu Ginobili missed another 14. The Spurs are a machine, and Pop is the engineer.

No Derrick Rose, Luol Deng traded away mid-year and Jimmy Butler missing 15 games, yet Tom Thibodeau refuses to let his team lose. The 48-34 Bulls clinched the No. 4 seed in the East. Joakim Noah has elevated himself to All-NBA status and Thibodeau has found a way for his team to win despite having one of the very worst offenses in the league - namely, one of the two best defenses in the NBA.

Doc Rivers has done wonders for the Clippers and their big men in particular as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have both made big leaps this year. The Clippers hold the No. 3 seed in the West after finishing with a 57-25 record and are in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating. They've missed a significant part of their team for much of the year in J.J. Redick an Chris Paul himself missed 19 games.

Winner: Jeff Hornacek


Executive of the Year

Candidates: Rod Higgins (Charlotte), Ryan McDonough (Phoenix), Neil Olshey (Portland), Masai Ujiri (Toronto)

Clifford has done a great job with the Bobcats, but Higgins was the one who hired him in the first place. Clifford is also the one who signed Al Jefferson, who has had a monster year and nearly put up 22 and 11 per game. Clifford has also done a solid job of acquiring cheap role players such as Gary Neal, Josh McRoberts, Anthony Tolliver and Chris Douglas-Roberts who have played well. All of these moves have turned the Bobcats into a playoff team, no small feat when you take into account the organizations history and where it's been the last few years.

First and foremost, Ryan McDonough hit a home run by hiring Jeff Hornacek. Second, let's take a look at the net result of what McDonough has done so far. Since taking the job, McDonough has acquired Eric Bledsoe, Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, Ish Smith, the 2013 18th pick and the 2013 27th pick. In exchange, he has given up Jared Dudley, Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola, Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown and Malcolm Lee. I'm calling that a big win for McDonough. The Suns have a deep roster with plenty of assets, yet McDonough has maintained cap flexibility while pulling all of this off.

The Blazers had one of the better starting fives in the league a year ago, yet they also had one of the worst benches I've ever seen. This year, Olshey rounded out the starting five by adding Robin Lopez and overhauled the bench by acquiring Mo Williams, Thomas Robinson and Dorell Wright and drafting C.J. McCollum. The result is 54 wins and the fourth seed in the West.

Finally, Masai Ujiri - the reigning executive of the year - moved to Toronto after they threw giant bags of cash at him, and he has continued to be a good GM. He ditched Andrea Bargnani, got rid of Rudy Gay and kept Kyle Lowry. As a result, the Raptors finished with the third best record in the East.

Winner: Ryan McDonough


Most Improved Player

Candidates: DeMarcus Cousins, Goran Dragic, Gerald Green, Markieff Morris, Lance Stephenson

DeMarcus Cousins has always been an enigmatic talent. He put up numbers in his first few years, but they weren't all that efficient or impactful, despite the talent he clearly possessed. Then the Kings extended him, and many were wondering how he'd respond after getting his contract. Turns out, he elevated his game and cut out a bit of the nonsense. He's had a monster year, putting up 23 and 12 while improving his shooting percentage to almost 50 percent.

Goran Dragic made that very difficult leap from solid starting player to a true star in his sixth season in the NBA. He put up a solid 15 and 7 line amid the turmoil that was the 2012-13 Suns season and showed flashes of how good he could be; however, the consistency was lacking. This year, his points shot up to 20 as his shooting percentages went up across the board. He turned himself into a lethal scorer, shooting 40 percent from 3-point range and 54 percent inside the arc. He is one of the best transition players in the league, and his step-back/pull-up jumper has approached automatic status. Dragic was the driving force behind the Suns surprise season.

Gerald Green is another big reason the Suns have done so well. His career has been all over the place, bouncing between the NBA, the D-League and overseas leagues. He cracked back into the Association with a strong 31 games for New Jersey in 2012, signed with Indiana then promptly turned back into the old Gerald. He averaged 7.0 points on 37 percent shooting and only appeared in 61 games. The Suns acquired him as part of the Luis Scola deal, and he has been reborn under Jeff Hornacek. Green is still taking a lot of the same crazy shot he has been his whole career, only they are going in now. He averaged 16 points on 45 percent shooting and 40 percent from deep.

Markieff Morris' career got off to a great start, but took a nosedive after the All-Star break of his rookie year. He was awful for a year-and-a-half following the break. He was a power forward who shot 40 percent from the field. Forty. His offensive ratings were 97 and 96. And it's not like he was a great rebounder or defender either to make up for his offensive ineptitude. He completely turned it around under Hornacek, however, putting up a solid 14 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes per game off the bench. His shooting percentage shot up to 49 percent, he improved to almost 80 percent from the charity stripe and his offensive rating climbed to a very good 111. That's a 15-point bump in points per 100 possessions. That's huge.

Lance Stephenson has been a bit of a media darling, getting plenty of attention for the season he has had. He was hailed as one of the biggest All-Star snubs and is now being thrown around in many MIP discussions. His numbers are up across the board, as is his playing time and usage rate. His rebounding and distributing are up significantly. However, oddly enough, his offensive and defensive ratings are identical from the previous year and his win shares per 48 is only slightly up. Stephensn played a much bigger role this year, but he improved much more from his second to his third season.

Winner: Goran Dragic


Sixth Man of the Year

Candidates: Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson, Markieff Morris

Jamal Crawford won the award a few years back while he was with the Atlanta Hawks, but he made his case for a second award this season. He averaged almost 19 points in 30 minutes per game, the best per-minute scoring season of his career. He's only shooting 41 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep, however. He's also started 24 games and the 30 minutes he plays is the most of anybody on the list.

Taj Gibson has had the best season of his career for Chicago and has stepped up offensively with Derrick Rose out of commission. His numbers are very similar to Morris' at 13 and 7, and he's a terrific defensive player. He's a big reason Chicago was able to survive after Luol Deng was traded away.

I've already talked about Morris above. He's been terrific for Phoenix, and his new-found consistency has been key to the team's success. He was the only player on the team that provided interior scoring, and his ability to knock down jumpers as well helped space the floor. There were several stretches where he acted as the go-to scorer for Phoenix this season, and was even named Western Conference Player of the Week early in the season.

Winner: Markieff Morris


Defensive Player of the Year

Candidates: ...

Bah, nobody cares about defense anyway. Nobody wins.

Most Valuable Player

Candidates: Kevin Durant

As much as I'd like to give this to a Sun - and Goran Dragic's name belongs in the conversation for voters' ballots - Kevin Durant is the only answer here. He has had a phenomenal season. He put up 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, and he nearly did it on 50-40-90 shooting. His running mate Russell Westbrook missed 36 games, yet Durant dominated and the Thunder won with or without their starting point guard.

Other names that belong on the ballot: LeBron James, Joakim Noah, Blake Griffin,

Winner: Kevin Durant

(He's not a Sun so he can make his own award)

There you have it. My completely unbiased picks for the end of season NBA awards. While the Suns won't win every award, it is a testament to the season they had that the team has legitimate candidates for each of them.

The Suns are in great shape going forward, with a 48-34 team and a ton of picks and cap space to add to the fun. Let's review what's to come this summer.

We have all summer to delve into this issue further, and believe me we will do just that. However, on the first day of the offseason it's time to set the stage for what's to come.

Team Recap

The Phoenix Suns finished with a 48-34 record, tied for the most wins by a team not to reach the playoffs. In the automated power rankings on ESPN that factors in recent play, strength of schedule, and offensive and defensive efficiency, the Suns finished the season ranked sixth overall.


But they didn't make the 16-team playoff field.

NBA Draft

Minnesota, so far, has kept their top-13 protected pick. But if the Suns somehow jump to the top of the lottery, that would push Minnesota down one rung and... the pick would go to Phoenix.

But let's assume the 98.5% chance the Suns stay right where they are.

The Suns will enter 2014 NBA Draft season with three picks in the first round:

  • #14 overall (their own)
  • #18 overall (Washington's)
  • #27 overall (Indiana's).

Last night, Washington jumped into 5th in the Eastern Conference thereby dropping the Suns' pick to 18th overall. The Pacers finished first in the Eastern Conference, but give the Suns the 27th pick because three Western teams had better records.

The Suns also are one of only a small handful of teams that still have 2013-14 cap space that can be used to absorb salaries during the draft in trades.


The Suns still have up to 3 first round picks in the 2015 NBA Draft to use in trades as well.

Lots and lots of assets!

Now let's move on to July 1...

Restricted Free Agency

Going into the summer, the Suns will have two starters enter restricted free agency: Eric Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker. Each player will have a 'cap hold' against the Suns' salary cap until they sign a contract with someone, anyone.


That's just over $11.4 million in cap holds - money they cannot spend in free agency even though the players are not under contract.

The only way that number changes is when (a) Bledsoe and/or Tucker sign an offer sheet or contract after July 1 and/or (b) the Suns trade one or more of the picks.

Other potential cap holds

Unless the Suns renounce the rights to Emeka Okafor, they will have a cap hold - money they cannot spend - of $19.18 million this summer. Expect the Suns to renounce his rights.

If Channing Frye opts out of his final year at $6.8 million in order to secure a longer-term deal, which he just might do, then the Suns will incur a new cap hold of $9.6 million - a net increase against their cap of $2.8 million. That cap hold of $9.6 million will stay in place until Frye signs a contract or the Suns renounce their rights (his Bird Rights).

Frye just might opt out, with the intention to sign a longer-term deal that just might be less per year than $6.8 million in exchange for security. He talked about that this week - wanting security. He did not mention accepting less, money, but that's usually how it goes.

If that happens, the Suns cap space shrinks until his contract is signed, which cannot happen before the moratorium ends in July 11 at earliest.

Non-guaranteed deals

Dionte Christmas has a deal for $1.15 million that is not guaranteed until July 31. He just might be used a salary filler in a trade in July, where the receiving team can release him after the deal is done.

Or, he might just be kept on the team as a great, great 12th man. There isn't a better cheerleader and locker room presence as 12th man out there.

Ish Smith and Shavlik Randolph are not under contract yet for next season, but the Suns do have the right to give them a contract for the minimum next year just by exercising an option.

Guaranteed deals for 2014-15

The Suns have 8 players on guaranteed deals, including Frye, for the 2014-15 season. Below is a breakdown, in order largest salary to smallest salary of the Suns cap situation, per


These numbers are a bit misleading, as they include Eric Bledsoe's $3.73 million contract which he will never sign. Bledsoe does have the option to sign that deal and become unrestricted next summer but no player ever does that unless no one wants them and that's their last resort.

As far as guaranteed deals go, including Frye's player option, the cap total is only about $30 million.


But even then, the Suns do NOT have more than $31 million to spend in free agency. You have to discount the cap holds as well.

Here's the bottom line, including Frye's $6.8 million.


So, that's just about $20 million to spend while Bledsoe and Tucker are still just cap holds. Once they sign contracts, their cap number will change accordingly.

It's possible the Suns would sign a free agent for up to $20 million before Bledsoe and/or Tucker sign contracts/offers.

There you go, Suns fans. Not only do the Suns return their 48-34 pieces, but they can add up to $20 million in new pieces PLUS three more draft picks.


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