Archie Goodwin has appeared in 37 games for the Phoenix Suns this season and in the 10.5 minutes he's been getting per contest, he's done a solid job, averaging 3.1 points, 1.7 assists and 0.4 steals. He's shown a lot of promise in the early going, such as when he gave the Suns a huge boost off the bench with 16 points in their three-point loss to the Sacramento Kings on November 19th. Then, a few days later in Charlotte, Goodwin had another big outing, putting up eight points and a career-high six rebounds in a seven-point road win.
However, over the last couple of months, he has struggled to find a rhythm, leaving him out of the rotation and playing inconsistent minutes. As a result, he has found himself spending some time in the D-League this week, playing for the Bakersfield Jam to help build his confidence back up by playing the sort of minutes he wouldn't be getting with the Suns.
It's not the first time the 6-foot-5 rookie has slipped on a Jam jersey this season. On January 23rd, the Suns sent him to Bakersfield on assignment and after just two games, they recalled him - he averaged 29.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in those contests.
Seeing as both of Goodwin's assignment have come as a means of helping him develop and not as a punishment, it's not expected that he'll be with the Suns' D-League affiliate for very long. Nevertheless, he's making the most of his opportunity and against the Texas Legends last night, he has his best game as a pro.
In 33 minutes off the bench, the former Wildcat scored 28 points on 11-for-15 shooting from the field and pulled down seven rebounds. He finished with the best plus/minus on the team (+13) and had it not been for him picking up five fouls, he probably would've played a lot more. The only downside to his performance was that he committed seven turnovers, yet his aggressive style of play proved too much for the Legends to handle. To top it all off, Goodwin sealed the deal with two clutch free throws in the closing seconds of regulation.
The Jam went on to win by a final score of 112-109.
Goodwin made several plays in this game that got the crowd off their seat. When he first checked in, he got out on the fast-break, broke out Rajon Rondo's patented behind-the-back ball fake and then a few minutes later, showed off his smooth euro-step. In the second-half, he had a pair of huge dunks, one left-handed tomahawk in traffic and one on Devin Ebanks, which has got to be up there with the best dunks of the year.
Let's not forget that Goodwin is just 19 years old. Had the Suns been as bad as everyone expected them to be this season, perhaps he would be getting minutes on a lottery destined team right now. However, seeing as they're still in the mix to make the Playoffs in a tough Western Conference, it's good that he's able to gain experience by being with a winning team, while also playing in the D-League where he can hone his craft. It will only pay off in the long run and the Suns must be happy with what they've seen from their rookie so far.