The Wizards won’t say they were desperate for a win heading into their matchup with the Charlotte Hornets but the fact is, they needed a win badly after dropping two in a row to the Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets.
With Bradley Beal out due to health and safety protocols, it was going to take a total team effort and next man up mentality to get a victory.
Someone who is embracing the moment is Wizards guard Jordan Goodwin who had an impressive game against the Grizzlies with nine points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block in 26 minutes.
He followed that up with an even bigger statement in the Hornets matchup. Goodwin was flawless coming off the bench. He finished with 17 points in 21 minutes, didn’t miss a single shot attempt (7-7 FGs), and held one of the Hornets star players, Terry Rozier, to 12 points.
That performance makes Goodwin just the fifth player in NBA history (since at least the shot clock era which began in 1954-55) to shoot 100% on at least seven field goal attempts with seven-or-fewer career games played.
Prior to college, Goodwin played for Beal on his Saint Louis-based AAU team, Bradley Beal Elite, from his eighth grade through senior year of high school.
“If Brad was here and somebody else was out, he always says ‘next man up,” Goodwin said in a postgame interview. “So I guess I was the next man up and I just took advantage of the opportunity that was given to me.”
“He’s a dawg,” Corey Kispert said. “He’s a problem on defense, he makes the right play on offense, and he didn’t try to play out of himself. That’s what the recipe is for making the most out of your opportunity. I love Jordan and I’m so happy that he’s doing everything that he’s doing. No one deserves it more.”
Goodwin’s defense has started to fill some of the void that Delon Wright left when he exited the lineup with a hamstring injury. In addition to the way he plays on the court, Kispert also noted that his energy is huge for the team.
He first appeared with the Wizards when he earned a call-up from the Capital City Go-Go in December on a 10-day contract via the NBA Hardship Exceptions. Goodwin appeared in two games. Earlier this season the Wizards converted him to a two-way contract to fill the roster.
Monte Morris is familiar with working his into the NBA from a two-way contract like Goodwin has done this season.
“I started off on a two-way [contract]. I’m just happy for him because I know how I started my NBA career. Just his hunger out there on both ends. It makes me happy to see as a brother. I stay on him. I stay in his ear. His hard work is paying off.”
Based on a sample size of games, Goodwin seems to be the real deal. The question is will he work his way into a permanent role on the team. Only time will tell but he has surely been what the Wizards needed to stay competitive without Beal and Wright.