Archie Goodwin: Steal of the Draft?

Archie Goodwin #6 of the USA Junior Select Team drives against the World Select Team during the 2012 Hoop Summit on April 7, 2012 at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon.

“You can see he’s got the feel,” said Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek after Archie Goodwin’s June 14 pre-draft workout for the team. “He’s a guy out there that with some work and a couple of years, he can be a very good player.”

Could the Suns have landed the steal of the 2013 NBA Draft?

Obviously, only time will tell.

However, according to numerous scouting reports and analysis, Archie Goodwin (the 29th overall selection acquired by the Suns along with guard Malcolm Lee from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for the 30th pick) has the potential to make a lasting impact in the NBA.

Goodwin, a 6-5, 198-pound shooting guard with a 6’10 wingspan out of Kentucky, is thought to be a prototypical NBA player. He has demonstrated a natural gift of being explosive around the rim with incredible athletic and scoring abilities – including an SEC-best 212 free throw attempts.

It’s even more impressive considering at just 18-years-old, he is the youngest American player in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Ryan Feldman of ESPN’s TrueHoop blog used detailed analytics to compare Goodwin with Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings and All-Star guard Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Feldman described how Goodwin rivaled both Evans and Westbrook in terms of offensive efficiency during each player’s college careers.

“Evans and Westbrook are both known for their abilities to finish at the rim. Goodwin was actually more efficient scoring around the rim than both Evans and Westbrook in their final college season, averaging 1.12 points per play while shooting 55 percent. On those same plays, Evans averaged 1.02 points per play and shot 50 percent while Westbrook averaged 0.82 points per play and shot 40 percent.”

Being compared to such talented players is unquestionably a compliment that brings with it lofty expectations. Still, Goodwin has seemingly made a habit out of responding to high pressure situations. As a freshman, he led Kentucky in scoring during their 2012-13 season at 14.1 points per game en route to being named to the 2012-13 SEC All-Freshman Team.

Certainly, both his play and demeanor has earned the praise of John Calipari, Goodwin’s coach at Kentucky.

"Archie has elite-level athleticism and quickness, but what I like about him is his attitude,” said Calipari on the school’s website. “He has that trait that you can't teach - that mentality that I'm going to go all out and do whatever I can to make my team better.”

Indeed, the consensus is that Goodwin has tremendous upside.

And it’s also important to remember than Suns GM Ryan McDonough has a history of helping undervalued guards such as Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley.

Looking beyond the hype, however, one thing’s for certain: Goodwin is a natural combo guard with amazing potential who brings quickness and athleticism to a young Suns team.

Can’t beat that.