In the wee hours of Friday morning, European basketball insider David Pick broke the news of Xavier Munford would leave the Greensboro Swarm to join FC Barcelona Lassa to help prevent them from being eliminated from the Euroleague. Before that departure, Munford stood as an elite D-League point guard due to his standing as an effective facilitator that can also do some work as an on-ball cutter. Those skills are prevalent when you examine him averaging 18.5 points and 5.3 assists on 42% from the field.
With Munford currently trekking across the Atlantic to join FC Barcelona, the Swarm will need to look for another player that can shine as the leader of the squad. While former college studs Perry Ellis and Rasheed Suliamon stand as potential options due to their recent success, the honor would have to go to current Swarm wing Archie Goodwin.
That decision has a lot to do with Goodwin being the most experienced player on the Swarm’s roster. Despite only being 22, Goodwin spent three seasons with the Phoenix Suns after they selected him with the 29th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. During those three seasons, Goodwin some continual strides to the point where he averaged 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 42% from the field in 19.5 minutes per game during the 2015-16 season. Unfortunately, that progression wasn’t enough as the Suns waived Goodwin before the start of the current season.
Following his Suns release, Goodwin was able to quickly catch on with the New Orleans Pelicans. Unfortunately, that stint in the Big Easy was short as the team cut him after only playing a total of 29 minutes with the Pelicans.
After getting cut by both the Pelicans and Suns in a matter of a few weeks, Goodwin faced a crossroads in his career despite being as old as your average college senior. With his NBA future turning hazy after getting released from two separate squads, Goodwin looked to the NBA D-League to help re-energize his career. That D-League transition became official on November 30th when Goodwin signed a contract with the Greensboro Swarm.
From the jump, Goodwin fell back into the same traits that led to his departures from the Pelicans and Suns. During those first few months with the Swarm, Goodwin had a heavy reliance on trying to shoot from mid-range or beyond the arc. Among his 12.8 field goal attempts per game, 2.7 of those shots came either the mid-range or perimeter.
That might not seem like too much, but it becomes concerning when you look at how inefficient Goodwin is as a mid-range or perimeter shooter. Goodwin is shooting 21% from between 16-24 feet and 23% from beyond the arc. Goodwin’s struggles as a mid-range and perimeter shooter has obviously had a negative effect on his shooting percentages. Currently, Goodwin is averaging 16.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game on 43% from the field, while also maintaining a below-average 52% True Shooting Percentage.
While those struggles were previously a concern when Munford was in the D-League, they’ll need to dissipate with Goodwin becoming the likely leader of the Swarm. To transition into that leadership role, Goodwin will need to learn to become less reliant on that ineffective perimeter jumper and focus more on being a facilitator. Because with Munford now in Barcelona, the Swarm is going to need a player to take the reins of being the team’s lead distributor.
Has facilitating ever been a big part of Goodwin’s overall game? Absolutely not. But the 6’5 Goodwin has occasionally shown that he can do some work as a reliable facilitator. A prime example of that is seen in the clip below where he put up a career-high 12 assists in a Suns game against the Toronto Raptors.
Within that clip, Goodwin shines as a player that can make picture-perfect passes while in the process of cutting to the rim. Coinciding with that, he also showcased a knack of using his 6’5 frame to see over the defense and make the correct pass. While nobody’s expecting Goodwin to be Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook, it shouldn’t be too much to expect that he can be a solid facilitator alongside new Swarm guard Cat Barber.
Another avenue that Goodwin will need to focus on is becoming more reliant on his skills as an on-ball cutter. Dating back to his days with Kentucky, Goodwin has always been a player that can drive to the paint whenever he desires. While he does love finishing with some great jaw-dropping dunks, Goodwin can still help out when he’s unable to finish.
That’s due to Goodwin having a strong 200 pound frame which allows him to draw contact and make his way to the free throw line. Once he makes his way to the charity stripe, Goodwn has been solid as he’s shooting 71% from the free throw line while with Greensboro.
With the Greensboro Swarm looking to start the second half of the D-League season, there’s hope that Archie Goodwin will be able to take the reins as the leader of the team. While he’s been somewhat inefficient since joining the Swarm, there’s still an opportunity for him to change up his game so he can become a more reliable option. Those change would need to come with him progressing as a facilitator while becoming more reliant on his ability as an on-ball cutter. If Goodwin’s able to do that, it would bring a positive change to the Swarm and might even help his chances of returning to the NBA.