COMMENTARY | Archie Goodwin has yet to log a single minute of regular-season NBA action, yet many feel like he could end up being the steal of the 2013 NBA draft. Words like "upside" and "potential" create buzz, but they don't tell us anything.
What should we expect from Goodwin this season?
As an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Kentucky, Goodwin put up respectable averages of 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals in 31.8 minutes per game. He shot 44 percent from the field, 26.6 percent from 3 and 63.7 percent from the free-throw line.
His shooting percentages leave a bit to be desired, but the first year at a new level is always a learning experience. It's also worth noting that over his last eight games at Kentucky, he shot a much-better 40-for-82 (48.7 percent) from the field.
It definitely wasn't a smashing success for Goodwin, especially considering the Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament and lost in the first round of the NIT.
The first major red flag for Goodwin heading into this season is the fact that he was extremely inconsistent in college. He had a stretch of four games in late-January where he went to the free-throw line 14 times, then twice, then 12 times, then four times.
A quick look at his game logs shows that his entire year was full of those ups and downs.
Another major red flag was his propensity to turn the ball over. He averaged 3.1 turnovers in his 31.8 minutes, which is definitely not ideal, especially for a shooting guard. He's going to be facing much tougher defenders at the professional level, so if he can't get those under control, you can bet he'll be on the bench more often than not.
Just as the defenders are much tougher, playing defense is also much more difficult. At Kentucky, Goodwin fouled out three times and got to four fouls seven different times with an average of 2.9 fouls in 31.8 minutes. He's going to need to improve his strength and technique if he wants to defend NBA shooting guards and not get in foul trouble.
The NBA Summer League was a showcase of Goodwin's strengths and weaknesses. Goodwin averaged 13.1 points on a shooting line of 50/57.1/66.7 in just 24.6 minutes per game. He got to the free-throw line a team-best 48 times in seven games. It's that kind of attacking of the rim that will get him easy points and more playing time in Phoenix.
The fouls and turnovers were still there, which is why we have to temper expectations a bit. He averaged 2.9 turnovers and 2.9 fouls in those 24.6 minutes, which will not endear him to coach Jeff Hornacek.
Expect growing pains from Goodwin this season and expect inconsistent play. He'll wow us with his ability to get to the lane and he'll make his fair share of highlight plays. Then we'll roll our eyes as he turns the ball over going for a big play, and we'll shake our heads as he is relegated to the bench with foul trouble.
2013-14 Prediction: 22.0 minutes, 8.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.5 turnovers, 3.0 fouls, 43.0 FG, 28.0 3P, 70.0 FT
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals on the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the NBA site HoopsHabit.com.
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