The Wizards could have something in Jordan Goodwin

It was ironic why Jordan Goodwin played for the Wizards in Sunday night’s loss to the Grizzlies. This was because shooting guard Bradley Beal was out due to health and safety protocols. Beal and Goodwin have known each other for years since Goodwin was in middle school as they are both from St. Louis, MO.

Beal opened up weeks ago when Goodwin received the Wizards’ second 2-way contract outside of training camp about how he remembers noticing something very early in Goodwin’s game when he was playing in AAU.

“He has the heart of a dog. It cannot be taught or passed on, it is born with it. He’s had that since he was young and I’ve always seen it,” Beal said.

Wizards fans are watching now. Goodwin was outstanding in Sunday’s game with nine points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block, all in 26 minutes of work. Four of his rebounds were on offense and all four resulted in second-chance points for the Wizards.

Goodwin helped the Wizards make a big comeback. They were 23 points behind Memphis but bounced back to take the lead in the fourth quarter before the Grizzlies pulled away. Goodwin helped spark a spark with his extra effort and defense against Grizzlies star Ja Morant.

Goodwin’s fragmented, energetic plays in Sunday’s game were a reminder of his journey to this point. He was known for his defense and rebounds in college at Saint Louis University. A two-time All-Defense pick in the Atlantic 10, Goodwin averaged more than 10 rebounds in both his junior and senior years despite being listed at 6-foot-3.

His uncompromising defensive mindset brings a new element to the Wizards, especially with Delon Wright sidelined with a hamstring injury. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. went to Goodwin early and kept him in the rotation for the rest of the game. His stubborn defense was an ideal antidote to Memphis playing a physical basketball.

Goodwin has worked his way up through the wizarding system and has the potential to become an organizational success story. He was released from college and spent most of last season playing go-go for their G-League partner Capital City. Goodwin was on a two-game hardship contract but has shown more this season, appearing in four of the Wizards’ 10 games.

Goodwin showed promise in the team’s loss to the Celtics last weekend with six points, a steal and a block in 18 minutes. But Sunday’s game against the Grizzlies was his best performance yet.

Goodwin still has a long way to go to achieve lasting power in the NBA, but you can already see how he fits in with the Wizards in the short term based on what he does best. They’ve had needs for perimeter defenses and physical players for years. And even with Wright healthy, there’s an opening at the point guard on her bench with no apparent depth behind Wright and starter Monte Morris.

Goodwin has an opportunity to cement himself as the third point guard in the organization. When they’re at full strength, that might not translate to many minutes, but as you’ve already seen, a third point guard often comes in handy.

Goodwin was team-best +12 on the box score on Sunday. While this isn’t always the most reliable stat for an individual on a single-game basis, it does reflect that he was on the pitch during their best stretches. The team’s starting XI struggled in the first half, but the Wizards bench put them back in the game and Goodwin was a big part of that effort.

Once Beal returns, Goodwin could be back out of rotation and looking inward. But Goodwin did his part by seizing the opportunity, and Unseld Jr. certainly noticed.


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