Beal ‘beyond proud’ of Goodwin’s emergence during his absence originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Losing your star player for a handful of games due to health and safety protocols is never a good thing. The silver lining of when that scenario became reality for the Washington Wizards and Bradley Beal, though, was the emergence of Jordan Goodwin.
Goodwin was a role player on the Wizards’ G-League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, just a year ago after going undrafted out of St. Louis. He played a grand total of six NBA minutes last season in D.C. This year, though, he got the nod for a serious bench role to help cope with Beal’s absence. He made, and continues to make, the most of the opportunity.
Nobody is more proud of Goodwin’s surge than his mentor and friend — the same teammate whose bout with health protocols cleared the way for him.
“I’m super proud, man,” Bradley Beal said of Goodwin after Washington’s 121-120 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday.
“Good is a tremendous guy. It makes me beyond proud to see his journey, being a part of his life since he was 14, 15 years old, maybe even younger. Just to see him transition to where he is now — a grown man, dad, playing in the NBA — like, who knew this would happen?”
Beal and Goodwin have indeed been tight for about a decade. Beal mentored Goodwin since they both grew up in the St. Louis area. Goodwin has called Beal “a big brother” when discussing their bond.
“Now he’s getting the opportunity to play, he’s getting the opportunity to showcase what he can do and taking full advantage of it. So I can’t be more proud of him,” Beal said.
Goodwin quickly became the most popular guy in the Wizards’ locker room shortly after his breakout with Washington. His play on the court helped, too, as his tour-de-force came with a career night against Charlotte bookended by a few more dazzling performances.
During the five games Bradley Beal missed, Goodwin stepped into a major bench role and helped power the Wizards to a 4-1 record over that span. Superb defensive play coupled with lights-out shooting (he shot 55% from the field over those five games) caught the attention of both coaches and the national media.
Now that Beal has returned from health protocols and reconditioning, Goodwin’s minutes could diminish down the line. He still saw action for 20 minutes in the Oklahoma City loss, though, putting up four points and some sturdy defensive work.
Goodwin’s impact on the Wizards during the early stages of the 2022-23 season can’t be understated, even if Beal’s return could relegate him to a deeper bench spot. For a player on a two-way contract, Goodwin struck while the iron was hot during Washington’s recent run, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“I’m always tough on him, I’m always pushing him to continue to get better, continue to not be complacent,” Beal said. “Earn your name, earn your way here, ‘cause this is an opportunity given to you. I’m proud of him, man. I’m beyond proud, for sure.”