The most successful point guards in Kentucky Coach's John Calipari's tenure have been able to get to the basket, score and create opportunities for teammates. Freshman Archie Goodwin possess all of those qualities.
Coming into the season, Ryan Harrow looked to be the player that would continue the tradition of passing the torch to another successful, future first-round NBA point guard this season.
However, even this early into the season, it seems as if that will not be the case. Coach Calipari has outwardly shown that he has lost confidence in Harrow by not bringing him back as a heavy contributor, even returning from his illness early in the season.
And after losing a second straight game to an unranked team against Baylor on Saturday, one that snapped a 55-game home winning streak, a little bit of panic may be starting to set in for this Kentucky team.
An answer at point guard can go a long way in helping this team rebound for a successful season. Freshman Archie Goodwin may be that answer.
At 6'5", Archie Goodwin does not have the look of a prototypical college point guard, but with this set of Kentucky basketball players, he looks to be the right answer in terms of getting the most out of this year's Wildcats.
Calipari has done this before in Memphis. When his team struggled to get going at the beginning of the 2008-09 season, he started play Tyreke Evans—perhaps out of position—at point guard and it was very effective for that team.
This year, the same could very well be true. The one glaring aspect of this year's team that is missing from last season is the ability to knock down shots at a very high percentage. The 2011-12 team consisted of players like Doron Lamb—who shot 47 percent from three-point range last season—Darius Miller—who knocked down 56 three-point shots on the year—and Terrence Jones, who did not have a stellar three-point percentage, but could still stretch the defense with his shooting ability.
So far this season, the only players who have made double-digit three-point shots are Julius Mays and Kyle Wiltjer, and they are a combined 28-76. That translates to be about 37 percent, which is definitely not good enough to rely on down the stretch.
So, what needs to happen is penetration to the basket.
Whether that is to get an easy basket or to simply get a better shot from the outside, it will create a much better flow for this offense than has been established thus far.
To do that, Archie Goodwin is the best answer for this team moving forward. His ability to get to the basket is much better than Harrow's, as shown by his averaging over 16 points per game thus far on just five three-point field goals.
What this will also do is open up space for shooters and scorers around him, because he is a constant scoring threat at the point guard position. Plus, with his large size for that position, he should be able to create several mismatches that will bode well for the Wildcats.
Coach Calipari has already started to show that this is where he plans to go for this season, but still, many feel that Goodwin will be better served playing off the ball.
However, with continued instruction from Calipari, Goodwin will continue to find scoring opportunities and will be a leader for this team as it finds its way early in this season.