There are two sides to every athlete. There’s the side that stays politically correct. Then there’s the side that bypasses the public filter and says what’s really on his/her mind.
SlamOnline.com is great at tapping into the latter side, where Suns rookie Archie Goodwin was featured earlier on Monday. When asked about his attitude when he faced all 28 teams that passed on him in the June 2013 NBA Draft, Goodwin was blunt without going overboard.
“It would have been great to have been drafted where I thought I should have been,” Goodwin told SLAM during last week’s Panini photo shoot portion of the Rookie Transition Program. “Now every team that didn’t pick me, I’ve got to give them hell.”
Goodwin, who will turn 19 next week, was just as fearless at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He scored over 13 points per contest, getting the bulk of playing time starting at off-guard and occasionally handling point guard duties.
Anyone who talks to Goodwin will get the same impression that SLAM did. He’s confident in himself and his abilities. He thinks his better than his critics say he is.
On the flipside, know that Goodwin is extremely and un-aggressively happy to be with the Suns. He lauded the leadership and one-on-one skills of head coach Jeff Hornacek, especially when it comes to correcting mistakes. In turn, Hornacek has given Goodwin props for being a fast learner, saying he only needs to tell the youngster something once for the lesson to sink in.
This was especially apparent during one Summer League game that saw Goodwin pass up a wide-open teammate on a 2-on-1 fast break for a highly contested layup. Both the teammate and Hornacek quickly brought the other option to Goodwin’s attention. Two possessions later, Goodwin was again the playmaker on a 2-on-1 break. This time, he found his running mate for the easy bucket.
Lessons learned, combined with Goodwin’s improving jumper and oozing athleticism, have Hornacek and his staff thinking that Goodwin could indeed prove his doubters wrong sooner than later.
“If he continues to do that he’s going to be a great player in this league,” Hornacek said in Las Vegas. “He’s driven to be one of the best.”
You can follow Matt on Twitter at @TheMattPetersen.