The Wizards signed Gooden to a 10-day contract on the Feb. 26. Washington’s President, Ernie Grunfeld, told media that the Wizards signed Gooden in hopes that he would provide size, experience and shooting ability to the Wizards’ bench while Nene Hilario is out with an injury.
In his first two games with Washington, Gooden missed all eight of his shot attempts and only had seven rebounds. On Wednesday night, with only three days left on his contract, Gooden was extremely productive. He finally showed why the Wizards gave him another chance. Against the Jazz, he had 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal; he also made six out of his seven shot attempts. This is a great sign for Washington, because this is the exact type of performance the Wizards will need from Gooden come playoffs.
This performance will most likely earn Gooden another 10-day contract. With Kevin Seraphin also currently sidelined, Gooden’s production off the bench is extremely important; he is a smart veteran who can produce a lot for Washington. Off the bench, the Wizards need Gooden to get rebounds, play defense and hit an occasional jump shot, and on Wednesday night, that is exactly what he did. Hopefully he can be as productive come postseason.
Gooden also brings playoff experience to Washington, which the Wizards can benefit from. In 44 career postseason games, he averaged 10.5 points and 8.2 rebounds in just 27 minutes per game.
In only three games with the Wizards, Gooden has done a great job at adjusting to the needs of Washington. Wednesday night’s performance is a great sign for Washington and I believe he will produce even more as his comfort level grows.