By Brett Bibbins | @BBibbins_Kernel
Following UK’s loss to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT on March 19, freshman guard Archie Goodwin didn’t sound like a player headed to the 2013 NBA Draft.
“If any of us were saying we think we should leave, then we’d all be delusional,” Goodwin said to reporters after leading the Cats with 18 points in their final game of the season.
Soon after, the freshman shooting guard announced that he would, in fact, be leaving UK to make the leap to the NBA.
Three months later and the 2013 NBA Draft is just days away and mock drafts say Goodwin could fall anywhere from the middle of the first round to the end of the second.
The reason for the wide range in Goodwin’s location in mock drafts is that he has a large amount of raw athleticism and a lot of talent, but the real risk is whether or not he will develop into an NBA caliber player.
The 6-foot-5, Little Rock, Ark., native averaged 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game for the Cats in his first and only season, while shooting 44 percent from the field, 26.6 percent from 3-point land and 63.7 percent from the free throw stripe.
With a historically weak draft this year, Goodwin probably made the right decision for himself to leave UK after one season, but it makes him the youngest player in this draft — and that is part of the reason that drafting Goodwin early is a risk.
He is a project in every sense of the word. He has a flat jump shot, is not always a willing passer and can get a bit hot-headed at times.
NBA teams have to decide if they are willing to take the risk for the possible reward that could come after developing Goodwin for a couple years.
After going through workouts with the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers, among other teams, Goodwin is hoping to stay in the first round, but is prepared to be drafted in either round.
“I’m going to be humble regardless if I go in the first round or second round,” Goodwin said to Adam Himmelsbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I’m going to let my love for the game take me where I need to go.”
The 2013 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, June 27. It will be televised nationally live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., at 7 p.m. on ESPN.