Goodwin Gets Matched Up Against Childhood Stars

Barry Gossage/NBAE

Give Archie Goodwin credit for staying poised and competitive in recent weeks. He is, after all, going up against the NBA faces of his childhood.

In recent weeks the 19-year-old rookie has guarded Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter and Manu Ginobili.

That’s essentially a list of dream opponents for hoops fans of Goodwin’s age, though the Suns’ guard is intent on becoming just as good as, if not better than, his All-Star predecessors.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the NBA since I was small,” Goodwin said. “It started with my dad teaching me how to play and my step-dad furthering that. They put it in my head that if I worked hard enough, I could be one of those guys.”

For now, the work and the lessons are quick and constant. In the Suns’ Nov. 25 game at Miami, he was victim to a Wade dunk before twice losing Allen on off-ball screens and, subsequently, gave up a pair of three-pointers.

The lumps, however, are readily taken. They give Goodwin a better idea of where he’s at as a player, which in turn gives him clues on how to become the elite guard he pictures himself being in the future.

Signs of that future and of lessons learned occur regularly. Against San Antonio he slashed hard to the lane and drew a foul on Tim Duncan. Later he stole the ball from Kawhi Leonard and finished with an easy layup on the other end.

“I really want to see how I fare against the best players,” he said. “I doesn’t matter who the guys are. You can get the best shooting guards in the league. You can name them. I just want to get an opportunity to play against those guys.”

“I watched those guys growing up, but I never felt those guys would be better than me in the long run,” Goodwin added. “Now I’m just trying to make my mark here and earn a name for myself and go at those guys every chance I get.”