Phoenix Suns thrilled to get Kentucky's Archie Goodwin with 29th pick

June 28, 2013 

Draft Suns Basketball

"This is the team I wanted to play for. I feel really comfortable here." Archie Goodwin, former UK guard, on the Suns. Phoenix Suns draft pick Archie Goodwin, left, was introduced to the Phoenix media during a news conference with General Manager Ryan McDonough.

ROB SCHUMACHER — AP

Former Kentucky standout Archie Goodwin, who was drafted with the No. 29 pick in the NBA Draft, was introduced to the media in Phoenix on Friday afternoon along with No. 5 overall pick Alex Len of Maryland.

Both the Suns, who expect Goodwin to play the point-guard position, and the player were excited about the team moving up to get him.

"Archie's a guy we had rated really high on our draft board," Suns GM Ryan McDonough said. "We frankly didn't think he'd be there for us. We were picking at the end of the first round and we were trying like heck to get a pick up higher to take him.

"For us, we had Archie rated significantly higher than where he got picked and there was a significant drop-off between him and the next guy on our list," McDonough added. "So we didn't want to mess around and run the risk that he wouldn't be there."

Goodwin, who averaged 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists in his lone season at Kentucky, was relieved to get the call that he would be drafted in the first round.

"This is the team I wanted to play for. I feel really comfortable here," he said. "Just seeing my family happy really made me happy. Just being around them to really cherish that moment mean a lot to me."

McDonough said the team had Goodwin in twice for workouts ahead of the draft.

"He came in and did really well in his first draft workout here in Phoenix," he said. "We liked him so much we asked him to come back. He came back in and did really well again. He's a guy we feel like has special potential."

McDonough said moving up proved to be the right move.

"Right after we got him, it was funny. My phone started blowing up with a lot of calls and texts from other teams saying "darn it, that was our guy.'"

Goodwin said he's ready to get to work right away.

"I have a lot of room to grow," he said "I'm only 18. I can get a lot stronger. I can get a lot more consistent in shooting and getting my dribbling better and getting a higher IQ for the game."

Not to say that he lacks confidence in his abilities.

"I feel like I have the athletic tools to set me apart from guys," Goodwin said. "I'm 6-5 and I have a 6-10 wingspan. There's a lot of point guards in the league that don't have that."

Goodwin said he's been working on his shooting. He shot 33 percent on jump shots last season, according to a report by ESPN.

"I've been working on my shot a lot and it's been getting a lot better," he said. "I'm a lot more confident in it than I was in our season."

Suns Coach Jeff Hornacek said the team will help Goodwin with his shooting, but it'll mostly be up to him to improve.

"The first thing with a guy that wants to get better at shooting is the willingness to work," Hornacek said. "We can show him little things with the form ... but he's got to put the effort in and the time to put up shot after shot after shot and at a fast pace. You can go to the gym and shoot 500 shots but if you don't do it at a fast pace or a game-type shot you're wasting your time. Archie's shown us he's going to work hard and we can give him those drills and he'll go through them hard."

Hornacek said Goodwin is a good fit for the Suns.

"The upside for Archie is he's 18 years old. ... He's got a bright future and he can do a lot of things for us, especially in the open game that we want to run."

■ Kentucky's Nerlens Noel knows he's headed to the Philadelphia 76ers, and so does the rest of the world, but he was not introduced along with his new team's draft picks on Friday because the trade Noel was part of Thursday night cannot be officially approved by the NBA until July 10, the start of the league's new fiscal year.

Philadelphia and New Orleans officials are not allowed to discuss the trade until then because it involved a veteran player in All-Star guard Jrue Holiday, who will go to the Pelicans.

"I like where Nerlens ended up in Philly," Kentucky Coach John Calipari said on his Twitter account after the Pelicans drafted Noel No. 6 overall then traded him. "I think it's a great situation with a young team. I wish he would have been picked earlier, but that's part of the game."

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