I wrote a post last August titled "Is Archie Goodwin ready for the rotation?" The conclusion I came to was a no because of how raw Archie still was and the lack of improvement he showed in the summer. While he didn't necessarily have a prominent role on the Suns roster this season he still managed to crack the rotation towards the end of the season.
In my opinion the demise of Gerald Green really helped him out, but regardless of that he still got the minutes. Goodwin played in 42 games this season and averaged 13 minutes a game, which wasn't much different than his 52 games played and 10 minutes a game from his rookie season.
Like his minutes situation Goodwin didn't change much as a player from last season to this season. He can still really get to the basket and finish, but there was no additional growth for him as an offensive player this season.
The two areas of necessary progression I highlighted in that post from eight months ago was his shooting and his playmaking. I thought we might see it in Vegas, but we did not. I thought we might see it this season, but we did not. For the sake of how raw Archie still is I won't touch on his defense.
The key to Goodwin succeeding in the NBA is attacking the basket. He's great at it, but there's always a wonder if some things will fully translate to the NBA. Goodwin's attacking certainly did and he showed it off earlier in the season.
With Goodwin having more time in the league and starting to establish himself as a slasher you had to wonder how he would respond to teams being more familiar with him. Well the answer is that he just kept attacking. Goodwin found more creative ways to go about finishing at the rim and was still good enough to get off some of his more traditional looks.
Things like seeing Tyson Chandler at the rim and being ready to dunk on him and making such an experienced and great defender like Andre Iguodala look like a moron while doing a BASELINE EURO-STEP are two clips that showed why Archie is so special.
While some might be looking at Archie's shooting as the main thing he needs to work on to get into a real role next season, it's actually his turnovers. Simply put, Goodwin was a disaster this season with his ball management. It pretty much eviscerated any chance of him becoming a point guard and it even makes you worry beyond that for his ball control as a shooting guard.
There were two main things that Archie struggled with when it came to managing the ball. The first was simple passes throughout the motion of the offense that he either couldn't complete, hesitated too much, or was just too lazy.
That's just one game as an example and one where the Suns were leading in the second half. Archie's going to continue to learn, but this is some simple stuff that he has been screwing up. Even if he doesn't project as a point guard, not being able to move the ball around the court without some risk is hazardous to say the least. You saw the Rockets start gambling a bit with him on the ball.
The second part where Archie has struggled is learning when to slow down. On some fast breaks or half-court sets he just needs to get his head up more often and understand what is going on. He has a tremendous way of maneuvering around on his way to the basket, but it doesn't necessarily translate full circle when it comes to his court vision.
Despite his hot start from the three-point line, Goodwin treaded towards the mean of his expected shooting numbers at the end of the season. He finished the year shooting 29% from deep, which included the 29% and 18% in the last two months of the season. It's okay if Archie can't shoot, but he has to be more efficient scoring if he's going to succeed in this league.
The reason I point this out is Goodwin's 39% shooting overall and his 0.92 AST/TO ratio. Both of those were some of the worst numbers amongst guards on the season in those two categories. He had a rough year.
Overall, we can't be too critical of Goodwin because he's still only 20 years old. I said in that rotation piece that Goodwin had another two years before we started actually being critical of him and year one is up. He's an incredible slasher, but he needs be far more efficient beyond that in order for him to evolve as a player and earn playing time for this team.
Next season is important for Archie. He's two years away from restricted free agency. By then the Suns will (hopefully) have a clear direction and leader to bring them closer to playoff success. Goodwin was an inefficient scorer who turned the ball over a ton this season and that does not sound like the type of player that hypothetical team would want. I think he can still take that big step next season, but this is the last time I will be saying that without some doubt.