Drew Gooden’s ‘breakout’ performance: worthy of an extended grace period?
[original image via Abdullah’s iOS]
It took Drew Gooden three games and 16 minutes of burn to finally collect his first points as a member of DC’s pro ball team, an open deep corner two via Al Harrington kick out pass (re-looping 6 second video capture below). Gooden’s inaugural bucket seemingly boosted him and the second unit, as the Wizards cruised the 2nd quarter with little difficulty. Gooden and #DrunkUncle Al combined for 12 points in that 2nd quarter, while Wittman’s chosen one to spearhead his backups, Bradley Beal, poured in 8 of his own. Gooden finished with 12 points on 6-7 shooting with a few complementary boards and assists.
But to the question above, it’s clear that Gooden’s internal ticker had alerted him that his 240 hours of provisional basketball were waning and that production is imminent. He responded well, mainly showcasing his perimeter shooting and an ability to stretch the floor from the 4 spot. But how efficient Gooden can be within the lineups he’s rotating in is still up for the jury. Utah’s defense is sorely bad. They suck, honestly. Harrington and Gooden, an average of 33 years of age, found open shots and drove the lane with relative ease against them last night and will most likely do similar things against the lowly Bucks this weekend. An impending “Heat” check in Miami next week? Maybe so. And maybe for that reason, it may not be a bad idea to extend Gooden for another 10 days just so we know it’s real because an extension would keep Gooden employed while the Wizards face a few top 10 defenses (Miami, Charlotte and Brooklyn), and right before the Wizards’ final west coast road trip.
The concept of adjusting to new teams is “nothing new” for Drew Gooden, and that certainly can play a factor in how quickly he establishes some rapport with his, count ’em, 10th team in the league. He also utilized his his time off to “reflect” and to come to the realization that he “loves this game,” so there’s also that. In the first two games, albeit just a combined 13 minutes, Gooden struggled a bit on the glass and trying to establish position down low. The natural jitters and obvious rust allowed him no points and six fouls but the seven boards were cool. But in 19 ample minutes against Utah last night, and with the convenience of playing alongside fellow #WizVets also born in the dwindling years of the Cold War, Gooden duly made his mark in Wizards lore. Let’s see if it sticks.