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Phoenix Suns Player Preview 2016-17: Archie Goodwin’s same story, different year

Entering his fourth NBA season, Archie Goodwin’s skill profile looks much the same as every year.

NBA: Preseason-Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

I have posted about Archie Goodwin for our season previews or reviews three times since he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns.

Not much has changed. Oh, I'm wrong? Let's ignore how lazy I am and focus on what I wrote about Archie in the past.

From Aug. 2014:

The best way to describe Goodwin is a term I really love, a zero guard. The way I see the term is someone who is stuck between shooting guard and point guard, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for them. Russell Westbrook (who John Calipari compared Goodwin to) is one of the better examples of this with Victor Oladipo closing in as well. These guys are freak athletes who can get to the rim just about any time, but they lack the true playmaking ability to be officially deserving of the title as a point guard. The other side is that these zero guards can't shoot a good number from the perimeter, making them off the ball at shooting guard even more difficult than letting them run the offense.

The progression of Goodwin over the next few years is what's going to determine if he becomes a true 1 or 2, or he lands in this zero guard paradigm, which quite honestly isn't such a horrible thing.

In over two years, we still don't know the answer. Is he a 1 or a 2?

The best spurt of his career in Phoenix and the most promise he showed was last season, when with significant injuries around the team, Goodwin got a chance to start at point guard. Sure, the team went 4-23 during that span, but Goodwin looked like he was learning and improving from the playing time, occasionally showing promise as a playmaker. It was still raw, but it was something!

Take a look at the most memorable moment, capped by a game-winner where he famously bragged about ignoring the coach’s play because he just knew creating his own fall-to-the-left 25-foot three was the better option. It was.

That game was smack dab in the middle of three consecutive 20+ point games. But he immediately followed that up with a three-game stretch where he scored a grand total of 21 points in 90 minutes (30 per game) as Hornacek’s coaching life was in its death throes.

Archie had another stretch of good play after Earl Watson took over, with 8 straight games of 14+ points, but then almost completely disappeared from the rotation about the time Brandon Knight returned from injury, and never came back until mop-up time as the season ended.

A combination of a lack of playing time and improvement doesn't have his playmaking where it should be, however, to be ruled a point guard or have enough ability as an attacking two guard, and with Tyler Ulis now on the team, I doubt he gets the chance even this season.

The jumper, on the other hand, hasn't made any progress. He shot 23 percent from three last season on 1.7 attempts per game on 19.5 minutes per game. Yikes.

Even ignoring his defense, those two aspects of his game were the main areas of concern and at least one of them needed to be a legitimate skill in his arsenal for him to be a rotation player.

That hasn't happened.

In my opinion, Goodwin has another two years to figure out where he wants to go with his game before we start flipping tables and calling him a bust. That's a whole lot of time and I expect him to be a good scorer in this league whenever the opportunity for permanent playing time comes forward. That's what we know, but what we don't know is if he adds those two parts to his game.

It's been those two years.

Here’s a quick stat line that shows 2015-16 was exactly the same as his career averages.

Goodwin’s stats

His raw numbers increased because his minutes increased last season from 13 minutes per game to 19.3. But his shooting and PER remained almost exactly the same.

Am I ready to call him a bust, though? No. He hasn't had nearly enough opportunities and looks in NBA action for a declaration like that, and his next stop in the NBA is most likely going to determine that, not his remaining time in Phoenix.

Maybe his trade value went up on Wednesday night when he wowed the nation with his personal comeback to beat Utah’s bench in Wednesday’s preseason game.

That was definitely a thrilling moment, encapsulating everything there is to know about Archie is one sequence.

Goodwin enters restricted free agency this next offseason, and I highly doubt the Suns will look to A) keep him through the season or B) sign him if they didn't already trade him.

Unlike seasons past, this time we know what's coming. Goodwin's barely going to play, and not enough to prove a point. Even when he does and plays fairly well all things considered, he gets benched for Ronnie Price when he came back from injury at the end of a 23-win season.

This is probably it for him in Phoenix, and it's disappointing for everyone involved, mostly Archie, who got a negative response to him taking advantage of his one big chance in his three years in Phoenix. Who knows, though, maybe this is the year the guy we would always have patience for finally figures it out in the one year the impatience begins to surface.

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