When the Phoenix Suns announced their acquisition of Bradley Beal on Father’s Day this past summer, we were shocked. We were surprised. We were excited. We questioned how it would work. We hoped that it would. As the season draws near, the time has come to answer those questions.
Part of that deal was the acquisition of guard Jordan Goodwin, a player from St. Louis who has ties to Bradley Beal as he played on his AAU team growing up. He brings with him a reputation as a two-way guard, someone who can play the point as well as aggressively defend. Sounds like a frank Vogel type of player to me.
Goodwin was one of the highly anticipated participants in Summer League, but we only received 12 total minutes of gameplay as he injured his knee. He remained out for the rest of his time in Vegas.
Unfortunately for JG, a hamstring industry injury hampered his availability in the first two preseason games for Phoenix, but on Thursday in Portland, we received our first view of Goodwin in a Suns’ jersey.
He didn’t disappoint.
In 14 minutes played he was aggressive on both ends of the floor. He scored 9 points on 4-of-6 shooting. He logged 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals, adding a block as well. He looked fluid on the court, both in setting up his teammates and in the physical manner in which he approaches the game.
Jordan Goodwin showing value: 9 points, 2 assists, 2 rebs, 2 stls in 14 minutes.— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) October 13, 2023
Going to be interesting to see guard rotation. He's the truest backup point Suns have, but if either Booker or Beal is going to be on the floor at all times?#Suns 110-97 with 5:04 in 4th. #RipCity https://t.co/baZ9NaLpzm pic.twitter.com/jw13Y2cA0q
“It felt good. It felt really good,” Goodwin said after Saturday’s practice. “Putting that Suns jersey on for the first time. Looking forward to the game Monday, playing in front of the home crowd.”
“I thought he did a really good job evading screens,” head coach Frank Vogel observed. “Sometimes bigger guards get clipped and get hung up a lot. He did a really good job getting into the ball and not getting screened. I like that he was a willing crasher. We’re trying to be a team that sends a bunch of guys to the boards and he’s consistent with that.”
Witnessing Goodwin play once again fortifies the depth that James Jones has built, for we should see plenty of Goodwin minutes throughout the regular season. While Vogel’s rotations will most likely always have either Bradley Beal or Devin Booker slotted to play the guard position, knowing that you have the ability to put in players like Goodwin to change up the flow of a game is key.
Goodwin still is learning to play in the system and the reps with his new teammates are key.
“Being out there with the guys we got on our team – Brad, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant – make(s) my job easier, my role,” Goodwin said. “I don’t have to do too much. Just take open shots and play defense.”
The only true point guard on the roster — he played point 87% of possessions last season with the Washington Wizards last season per Basketball-Reference — there is still much to learn relative to the ebbs and flows of those around him. “Still got to understand how Book want(s) to get his shots, still got to understand where KD gets his shots, things like that,” Goodwin noted. “Understand how coach want to run his offense, especially with whatever group I’m out there with.”
“He’s a real solid guard,” teammate Devin Booker said of Goodwin. “He knows what it takes and he does it on both sides.”
The other side of the ball is where he can excel. He was picking up opposing players three-quarters of their way up the court, something I feel like we have not seen since the days of Jevon Carter. Constantly putting pressure on the defense; we know what it’s like when our guards are pressured for 75 feet. Just ask Chris Paul in the postseason. It wears you down, mentally and physically, and when an irritant is constantly making you work, you tire.
“It’s exciting,” Goodwin responded when asked about playing for Vogel and a defensive minded head coach. “Every day in practice you got to bring it. It’s high level competition. I feel like our practice sometimes is harder than the game.”
Goodwin brings that aspect of his game to the Suns. Physicality. Toughness. That “junkyard dog” mentality. Jordan Goodwin. Jordan Dogg-win? (nudging your arm with my elbow and giving you that dad-joke look) Maybe we’re on to something here…
When asked about being a part of Josh Okogie’s ‘Pit Bulls’ text group, Goodwin stated, “Yeah, I’m trying to get in the text, he ain’t sent the text out though. I’m waiting though. I hope I got a spot in the chat!”