Mar 9, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Archie Goodwin (10) celebrates after dunking the ball against the Florida Gators in the first half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Florida 61-57. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

For a take on former Kentucky Wildcat Archie Goodwin's NBA Draft prospects, think Indiana Pacers SG Lance Stephenson

After seeing several tweets during the Indiana Pacers-New York Knicks series finale comparing Archie Goodwin to Lance Stephenson coming out of college, I decided to give it a look-see and see how it stands up. As it turns out, it’s not really a bad comparison. First let me show you the tweets:

And now, putting all cards on the table, I remember Lance Stephenson when he committed to the Cincinnati Bear Cats. He was raw, heralded and extremely talented but with as much talent as he had on the court, he had as much propensity to blow it off. That’s baggage that Archie Goodwin didn’t come with.
They both were in the Top 20 in their respective recruiting classes with having Lance Stephenson at #11 and Archie Goodwin at #14. Both are big, athletic shooting guards who can create off the dribble but are questionable decision makers and shot takers. Neither shy away from the spotlight or big shot, yet neither lived up to their expectations as super Frosh. Both played with incredible energy and heart. Interestingly enough, Lance Stephenson, before his freshman season was over, announced that he was returning for his sophomore season at Cincinnati. Sound familiar? Right after the Kentucky Wildcats got popped by Robert Morris in the First Round of the NIT, despite Archie’s herculean effort (18 points and 7 rebounds), he proclaimed to the BBN this:

“I don’t think it’s a question of whether I’m going (to the NBA) or not,” said Archie Goodwin, who led UK with 18 points. “I don’t think I’m ready to go.”
Then Goodwin added, “There’s no reason any of our guys should really leave. We should come back next year . . . and just try to do better.”

Read more here:

Now I’m not dogging him for making a poorly thought out statement in the heat of the moment. He’s just a kid still but it is another similarity.
Neither Lance nor Archie can shoot 3’s worth a crap, 22% and 26% respectively but both can create space and know how to use their bodies to post up smaller defenders. Archie guarded three positions at UK and has better lateral movement than Lance but is about 30 pounds lighter so could get muscled around a bit.
Here are the profiles of both

Lance Stephenson

April 28, 2010
Kyle Nelson

Toward the end of his freshman season, Cincinnati shooting guard Lance Stephenson surprisingly announced that he would return for his sophomore year. Weeks later, he shocked few when he reneged on that announcement and entered the NBA Draft with an agent (reportedly his lawyer, Alberto Ebanks). While Stephenson always seemed like a one-and-done player, he had a subpar freshman season that exposed many of his flaws and showed the limit of his potential.

Physically speaking, Stephenson has solid height for an NBA shooting guard at 6-5 with good length and a strong frame. As was the case in high school, he relies on his strength to overpower weaker players and compensate for his lack of athleticism. From a conditioning standpoint, he did not appear to be in ideal shape this past season, likely carrying an extra 10-15 pounds on his thick frame. He is quick in the open floor, but lacks the explosiveness and lateral quickness expected from wings at the next level. While he will continue to work on his strength and conditioning, there is no doubt that Stephenson is a below average athlete in the NBA.

His offensive skill set, which is heavily reliant on isolations and muscling his way to the basket, will probably have to be adapted at the next level, given his lack of explosiveness and quickness. While Stephenson’s touch around the basket is not bad, his overall shooting during his freshman season was extremely poor. He shot a dismal 21.9% from beyond the arc, converted under 50% from inside the arc and made just 66% of his foul shots.

On film, his shooting motion with his feet set is not terrible. He has a fairly fluid motion and release. But he has issues with excess lower body movement, and when he shoots off the dribble, his mechanics are less consistent and he has a tendency to fade away while shooting.

The biggest issue here is Stephenson’s decision making. He settles for bad shot after bad shot, in spite of miserable percentages and open teammates. He seems to lack any sort of understanding of shot selection. Even when his shots were not falling, he forced the issue and, if his teammates sought their own offense, he tended to pout and fade into the background. This is likely the primary cause for concern from NBA scouts, as Stephenson has never really shown the ability to play team-oriented basketball and could certainly have issues adapting to a situation where he’s simply a role player.

Stephenson does a good job of creating space off the dribble, showing solid ball-handling skills for his size. The effectiveness of his mid-range game suffers due to his poor shot selection, but he has shown an ability to find shots inside the arc and pull up off the dribble. Similarly, he was at his best last season when he attacked the basket both in transition and in half court situations, where he could use his size and strength to his advantage. He must improve his willingness to find the open man, though, as his tunnel vision often results in offensive fouls and untimely turnovers.

Though Cincinnati did not field the most competitive or disciplined team last season, Stephenson’s lack of offensive efficiency and selfish style of play have been omnipresent throughout his career. During workouts, he must somehow convince scouts that he is capable of playing team-oriented basketball and has the ability to produce efficiently in a smaller role. As we have written before, Stephenson possesses NBA-caliber scoring abilities. His average athleticism and questionable decision making ability, however, may force him to work his way up through the D-League first.

On the defensive end, Stephenson did a decent job at Cinncinati, but his lack of lateral quickness limits his potential in this area at the next level. He will struggle to guard bigger and more athletic guards in the NBA, though his strength and length will likely work in his favor. His strong frame also helps him on the boards, where he averages 7.5 rebounds per 40 minutes, pace adjusted — solid numbers for a wing player.

His behavior off of the court has also been a well-documented issue in recent years. He stayed out of trouble at Cincinnati, but he has accumulated quite a collection of red flags during his brief time as an amateur basketball player. Any NBA team that considers drafting him will have to do extensive research about his background, and decipher why he was in such a big rush to leave Cincinnati after such a sub-par freshman season.

While there are a tremendous amount of obstacles in his way, Stephenson still has the potential to be a contributor at the next level at some point down the road. While his lack of explosiveness and mediocre shot selection are areas of significant concern, he has good scoring instincts and a decent offensive repertoire. Stephenson is sure to be one of the most controversial players in the draft. There is no guarantee that he will even be picked, but he may be able to carve out a career for himself regardless, a la Stephen Jackson.


Archie Goodwin

April 25, 2013
Scouting Report by Kyle Nelson. Video Analysis by Mike Schmitz

Archie Goodwin entered the University of Kentucky as the 12th-best recruit in the country according to Recruiting Services Consensus Index and a key component of another stellar John Calipari recruiting class.

Things did not come together by any means for Kentucky, though, as the team struggled with inconsistency, maturity, and injuries, ultimately floundering to a first round exit in the NIT and a 21-12 record. Goodwin emerged as the team’s leading scorer and go-to guy, but struggled with inefficiency for much of the year.

Despite the stern comments he made upon being eliminated in the NIT (“If any of us were saying we think we should leave, then we’d all be delusional,”) and supposedly against coach John Calipari’s advice, Goodwin decided not to return to Kentucky, declaring for the NBA Draft with the intent to hire an agent. Now, following a freshman season marked not only by flashes of excellence, but also by long stretches of inconsistency, Goodwin must prove to NBA front offices that he is worthy of a first round selection and is capable of contributing at the next level in the not-too-distant future.

Goodwin is an excellent NBA prospect from a physical perspective, standing around 6’5 in shoes with a massive 6’10 wingspan and a developing 198-pound frame. Additionally, he is an explosive athlete around the basket, quick in both transition and off-the-dribble. Simply put, Goodwin has the physical profile of an NBA shooting guard with athleticism and length that will allow him to compensate for any height deficiencies at the next level once his frame fills out.

His prospects are less sure when analyzing his performance on the offensive end of the floor. As an 18-year-old freshman, one of the youngest players in college basketball, Goodwin played a significant role for the 21-12 Wildcats, commanding a team high 27.5% (by a wide margin) of Kentucky’s overall possessions and scoring a solid 17.4 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Furthermore, he was at his best against Kentucky’s best competition, posting solid scoring numbers in early-season contests against Louisville, Duke, Baylor, and Maryland.

His lack of productivity can, in part, be attributed to a prolonged slump once Kentucky reached conference play, during which he averaged 12.7 ppg and shot just 18% from beyond the arc and 57% from the free throw line, but his inconsistency amidst his significantly better run in November and December suggests that this may be more of an issue than simply hitting the freshman wall. SEC teams undoubtedly figured out how to stop Kentucky and Goodwin struggled badly under the pressure of being the only player on the roster capable of creating their own shot effectively. The scrutiny that comes along with playing at such a large program coming off a national championship may have been more than he was ready to handle at this stage of his career.

Goodwin’s offensive struggles begin with his inefficiency from the perimeter. According to Synergy, he makes just 33% of the 90 overall jump shots he attempted this season, while making just 27% of his three-pointers. While Goodwin started off the season fairly well, making 40% of his 3-point attempts in the non-conference portion of Kentucky’s schedule, he lost his confidence midway through the season and saw his shooting mechanics break down almost entirely, dipping the ball nearly to his knees upon the catch, elevating and releasing the ball from different vantage points, looking extremely off-balance with his footwork, and thus short-arming many of his shot-attempts.

Even though he does not get that much arc on his jumper, Goodwin appeared to be capable of making shots from the perimeter when taking open attempts in rhythm with full confidence. When guarded, he tends to force and rush shots, compromising his rhythm and mechanics in the process. Ultimately, even in his best moments as a shooter, the question still remains as to whether he can make perimeter jump shots from NBA range against bigger and more athletic defenders, something that will play a large role in his ability to be an efficient contributor long-term.

Looking elsewhere, Goodwin already shows significantly more potential, especially operating in transition, isolation and pick-and-roll situations, which comprise the biggest share of his offensive contributions. Though he must continue to develop his ball-handling ability in half-court situations, he already shows a very good first step and the ability to get to the basket at will. Additionally, he makes 54.5% of his shots around the rim and attempts an outstanding 7.9 free throws per 40 pace adjusted, fourth best amongst NCAA shooting guards in our top-100 rankings. He still has room to improve on his ability to finish through traffic, something that could come with added strength, and he will have to show he’s at least a capable shooter for defenders not to completely sag off him in the NBA.

More intriguing is his ability to operate as a shot creator out of the pick-and-roll, primarily in terms of attacking and creating good looks around the basket. Though he never lived up to his billing as a potential combo guard, he did emerge as a solid, albeit limited, distributor as a freshman. Along these lines, his 3.3 assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted and 3.8 turnovers show both the good and the bad.

Goodwin shows excellent potential on the defensive end – guarding three positions at the collegiate level – primarily due to his good lateral quickness and excellent length. Consistency and focus are significant issues for him at times, as they are for many freshman wings, but that he does show the ability to fight through screens and stay involved after he has been beaten speaks well to his prospects. He was, by far, Kentucky’s best perimeter defender as a freshman, and scouts will be evaluating his ability to consistently stay in front of NBA-caliber shooting guards throughout the pre-draft process.

While Goodwin presents quite a few weaknesses to scouts, it’s hard not to be intrigued the potential he brings to the table as an NBA prospect. Between his ability to get his own shot around the basket, his well above average physical profile, and his upside as a defender, Goodwin looks the part and already does a few things that NBA teams value highly in young players. That being said, his extreme youth, average fundamentals, inconsistency, and lack of comfort as a jump shooter will likely prevent him from contributing right away, making him more of a project than some expected him to be coming out of high school. Additionally, NBA scouts will want to do their due diligence surrounding his strange departure from Kentucky.

At the end of the day, however, Goodwin shows a good amount of promise for an 18-year-old freshman. His draft prospects are far from sure at this point, but he has every opportunity to solidify himself as a first round pick with solid showings in pre-draft settings, and could certainly emerge as a steal later on in his career if a team is willing to be patient with his development.


Lance was the 40th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and though most have Archie going anywhere from 18-Second Round, one thing is certain and that is NBA scouts won’t hesitate to send you to the D-League for development. Just ask Terrence Jones or DeAndre Liggins or Daniel Orton. They spent significant time down there this season.

But in the most important game of the Indiana Pacers season, Lance Stephenson showed just how justified Larry Bird was for drafting him at all. He led the Pacers in scoring with 25 while pulling down 10 rebounds to bounce the Knicks. Though the result was different for their season saving/moving on games, Archie Goodwin put his team on his back against Robert Morris but just didn’t have enough to overcome what seemed like destiny.

So, BBN, there is hope for Archie. Though he led the team in scoring at 14.1 PPG, that’s still short of what anyone expected and when you account for having to play PG when Harrow was out, and not having a great one when Harrow was back, he has some serious upside.

And I can’t wait to see it.

So what say you, BBN? What type of NBA player will Archie Goodwin be? How long will it take him to reach his potential? Who should take the chance?

I’d love to see him in Boston or Memphis. Hell or even Indiana.

Tags: 2013 NBA Draft Archie Goodwin Basketball Articles Kentucky Wildcats

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