The Value of a Backup Point Guard
Brandon Goodwin was phenomenal in the Cavs come from behind win on Monday night over the Pelicans. He scored a much-needed 21 points off of the bench and took some pressure away from the Cavs interior presence. Since then, Goodwin’s career-high has been the talk of social media, as fans have begun to push for a more consistent role for the young point guard out of Florida Gulf Coast.
I’m going to say something very blunt. Goodwin isn’t that good, and he’s certainly not the backup point guard that the Cavs could trust in the playoffs. This isn’t some sort of “hot-take”, it’s just an unfortunate fact.
Monday night was the best performance of Goodwin’s career, but there were still many red flags throughout his performance, most notably down the stretch. With 4 minutes to play, and down by just three points, Goodwin brought the ball up the floor, did not swing the ball, and launched a contested step-back three that missed the hoop entirely and was tipped into the arms of Josh Hart.
This play might feel inconsequently, but it’s the type of shot that can flip the entire flow of the game. The Cavs' defense is exponentially better following a made shot, as they are able to get set. This miss led to a bad defensive set where Jaxson Hayes was able to make a wide-open foul line jumper.
Not only is Goodwin’s shot selection an issue, but his poor shot selection leads to minimal ball movement. Aside from Kevin Pangos, Goodwin has the lowest assist percentage out of any point guard currently residing in Cleveland. I believe this low assist percentage comes from holding on to the ball too late into the shot clock and forcing his teammates into tough looks from beyond the arc.
My final gripe with Goodwin is his defense. As a whole, he’s a very solid defender, but he’s far too risky. He gambles for steals and reaches far too often to be a consistent defender. It’s not that big of an issue though, as his defensive rating is still a very solid 105.
I know this article seems to be dumping on Brandon Goodwin, and it is, but writing critical pieces on the Cavs isn’t the same as years past. The backup point guard position is the weakest link right now and is something Koby Altman needs to handle before the trade deadline. The Cavs have the money and the assets to go find a trade partner and I hope that they do.
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