If you were to tell me that Drew Gooden, who hasn’t played NBA basketball this entire season before getting picked up by the Wizards on a 10-day contract, would lead the Wizards to that win, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Well, that’s exactly what happened last night.
Prior to Gooden’s scoring explosion off the bench, John Wall didn’t get much help from his teammates and essentially kept Washington in the game single handedly. Once the second unit checked in, Drew Gooden started to score in bunches and finished the job off late in the fourth quarter. Gooden led the bench with 21 points, knocking down 8 of his 11 shot attempts in just 26 minutes of action, including a big three point shot over former Wizard Andray Blatche to give the home team the lead. He’s benefited from playing with good pick-and-roll guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal, which has allowed Gooden to get a lot of open looks from the mid-range area.
No one expected Drew Gooden to consistently score 10+ points as a reserve after missing so much time this season, but he’s done just that in Washington. For someone who was relegated to the bench by the Milwaukee Bucks last year, Drew Gooden’s confidence has never faltered and it definitely showed last night.
Take a look at his shot chart en route to 21 points:
For a player who relies so much on mid-range jump shots, which is widely considered the most inefficient shot in basketball, Drew Gooden has been extremely efficient from the field since getting signed by Washington. Five of Gooden’s eight made field goals last night came from outside the paint and a lot of them were actually contested. The Nets have become a good defensive team this season, so the fact that Gooden was able to completely dominate off the bench is even more surprising.
The Wizards haven’t had a reliable bench in a very long time, but that’s changed this season with the addition of a few veterans, including Drew Gooden. Let’s hope he can keep this up, because Gooden’s sudden resurgence has definitely been fun to watch.