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One of general manager Ryan McDonough's first tasks this past offseason was the draft. For the first time in many years, the Suns had a top-five pick. And in addition to that, they also had the last pick of the first round.
With the fifth pick, McDonough took Alex Len, a 7'1" Ukrainian center from the University of Maryland. With the 30th, he selected Archie Goodwin, the freshman guard from Kentucky who many said would have benefited from staying in college.
Neither player is even a candidate for Rookie of the Year. And looking at the stats, you can see why.
Archie Goodwin averages 3.1 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.9 turnovers in a meager 10.5 minutes per game. His shooting percentages are particularly unsightly, as he connects on 39 percent of his field-goal attempts and only 11 percent of his three-point attempts. Advanced statistics give him a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 6.3 and -0.4 win shares. Those stats almost suggest that Goodwin has been a liability to this team rather than any sort of asset.
Len hasn't been fantastic either. He has played only 13 total games after missing over a month due to ankle soreness. And even in those 13 games, he has logged a total of just 89 minutes.
It is still too early to even worry about the performance of these rookies and whether or not they should be labeled "busts." Len and Goodwin are only 20 and 19, respectively, and they're on a team that doesn't have many minutes to offer. Factor in the alarming status of Len's ankles, and it's safe to say that the two rookies will be developed slowly over the next few years.
On the bright side, when either one is on the court, the potential is clearly there.
For example, few players on the team are as aggressive as Goodwin when attacking the basket. Though he isn't converting many of those layup attempts yet, he isn't afraid to drive to the rim and take contact either. Once he adds strength, he could be one of the Suns' best players at breaking down the defense. If he could only add a consistent jump shot to his repertoire, he might become an elite offensive player.
Len, for his height, is extraordinarily lanky. Though it may be a small sample size, he averages 7.7 offensive rebounds and 12.5 total rebounds per 36 minutes.
He hasn't shown much of an offensive or defensive game yet. But at the very least, he could become an above-average rebounder in this league. And right now, that's exactly what the Suns need from their big men, as they are 27th in the NBA in defensive rebound percentage.