After being assigned to Bakersfield on Christmas Day, Archie Goodwin, Tyler Ennis and T.J. Warren (heretofore referred to as the Young Suns) immediately went to work, p;laying two games in two days.
The games were a mixed bag for the Young Suns. Goodwin and Warren seemed unable to find synergy on the court, while Ennis was outshone by the other guards on the team on more than one occasion.
The Jam won the first game, against the Canton Charge, 107-83. Goodwin led all scorers with 29 points. The second game went less well, as the Jam fell to the Erie Bayhawks 118-107. In this game, Warren led all scorers with 29 points.
I'll break down the play of each player.
Goodwin looked fabulous against the Charge. Against the poor guard rotation of Antoine Agudio, Kevin Olekaibe and Stephen Holt, Archie was able to slash and score at will. He shot 12-18, predominantly on close range shots, and drew 5 free throws, though he made only 2.
Archie also looked decent on defense, with 4 steals to go along with his 4 rebounds, but this is pretty much to be expected. In the D-League, guys like Goodwin often get 5 or more steals in a game.
Against the Bayhawks, Goodwin struggled. The Bayhawks feature a much more athletic and rangier backcourt than the Charge, and this gave Archie fits on offense. He managed only 10 points in this game, on 3 of 12 shooting
While Goodwin looked great in the first game and ho-hum in the second, Warren struggled in the first and played great in the second.
Struggled might be something of an overstatement for Warren's first game. Warren's statline wasn't great - just one point, 2 assists and 10 rebounds - but this is deceptive. Warren had only 2 shot attempts. That being said, the team just seemed to look better without Warren on the court.
Warren came alive against the Bayhawks. He looked more comfortable on the court, taking 22 shots and hitting 11, though he hit just 1 of his 5 three point attempts. He was 1 rebound away from a triple double, and had 29 total points. His defense was also solid on Kadeem Batts, but he as well as the rest of the team were unable to stop Devyn Marble, who dropped 21 points on 9/20 shooting.
Ennis was really not terribly impressive in either of the games, though he was at least consistent in both games.
Against the Charge, Ennis shot 6/15 for 13 points, and also had 2 assists and 4 rebounds. While this isn't a terrible outing, it isn't particularly impressive considering the quality of the guard rotation in Canton.
Ennis had a nearly identical stat line against the Bayhawks, putting up 14 points on 5 of 14 shooting and adding 3 assists and 5 rebounds. Somewhat worryingly, Ennis' defensive assignments performed very well in this game, with the starting backcourt putting up 47 points.
Its unclear exactly why the Suns assigned all three players to the Jam at this point in the season, though it cannot be ruled out that GM Ryan McDonough is trying to showcase the three in the hopes that they might generate interest in trade scenarios.
Regardless, both Warren and Goodwin showed some good signs, though the inconsistency at this level isn't exactly reassuring. Ennis was the least impressive of the Young Suns, and looks like he might need more seasoning. At this point, he seems the most likely to see more extensive time in Bakersfield.
Another potentially worrying bit from this assignment is the difficulty that Warren and Goodwin had playing together. When Warren was playing well and taking shots against the Bayhawks, Goodwin was really struggling. While Warren was able to contribute a bit more when Archie was dominating possession, but at this point the players seem to have some difficulty complementing each other.