The Atlanta Hawks have been struck by injuries this season. One benefit is the development of Brandon Goodwin as he has moved past Rajon Rondo in the rotation.
The Atlanta Hawks have had an injury-plagued season and as a result, some players have seen more action than they would normally have received. One of those players is reserve point guard Brandon Goodwin.
Goodwin received playing time in the first two games of the season due to newly signed Rajon Rondo being out with knee soreness. Then, when Rondo was healthy enough to play Goodwin did not get any playing time for the two games Rondo was back.
However, Rondo would be forced to sit out again after the loss to the Brooklyn Nets and Goodwin had six games to make a case for getting more playing time when Rondo returned. Well, the NBA is a league of opportunity and Goodwin took his with both hands.
The Atlanta Hawks need what Brandon Goodwin provides.
When the Hawks announced that Rondo was going to be out until at least the start of the recently concluded three-game road trip, this gave Goodwin a time-frame to showcase his wares. He did this in so many ways and showed the Hawks that he is not all about the numbers but his impact on the game.
In the first three games where Rondo was out, Goodwin played the backup point guard role. He took a couple of shots, gave out a couple of assists, and did not turn the ball over. Then the first game against the Charlotte Hornets changed everything.
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Anyone who watched it will remember the game where the Hawks were stunned out of the gates and went down big. John Collins tried to put the team on his back but needed help to bring the game closer. Goodwin provided that help.
The Hornets zone was good, and the Hawks could not buy a 3-point make, with the exception of Kevin Huerter. Then Goodwin started to break down the zone with his speed which created space on the floor. His speed was also advantageous in transition defense as he caused two steals which translated into buckets on the other end.
Then came the game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Well, it was a game in name only as the Hawks had control of it midway through the second period and never gave it back. Goodwin was rewarded for his good play in the two games against Charlotte with his longest playing time of the season, 23 minutes.
He scored 15 points and had four rebounds and four assists but this game appeared to give him tremendous confidence. More importantly, coach Lloyd Pierce appears to have gained confidence in the third-year man.
In the games against the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers, he averaged 16 minutes of game time and looked at home running the second unit. Conversely, Rondo was given 19 minutes in the Jazz loss and did not look good. He then only received nine minutes in the loss to the Blazers.
What is impressive about this is that Rondo has been mentoring Goodwin, giving him tips and pointers in an attempt to improve his game. This is true leadership and Rondo is simply trying to make the team better but in the short term, it has pushed Goodwin past him in the rotation.