Ryan Arciadacono can learn a lot from underrated point guard, T.J. McConnell. Here are the things he needs to improve upon to liken his game to McConnell’s.
T.J. McConnell and Ryan Arcidiacono have a lot in common. Both are scrappy point guards that can rack up points and assists in a hurry. On a Sixers team consisting of two rising superstars, T.J. McConnell led the charge. The Chicago Bulls can only hope Arcidiacono does the same.
T.J. McConnell against the Celtics
T.J. started game 4 and did not let Brett Brown down, dropping 19 points, 7 boards, and 5 assists. He was seemingly everywhere on the court, playing like a waterbug. If it weren’t for his heroics the Celtics would have brought the brooms out.
T.J. got to his spots on offense, never settling for a shot he didn’t like. On one play he found himself stuck on the baseline guarded by bulky forward Semi Ojeleye, yet he twisted and turned 4 times until he could get Ojeleye in the air so he could float the ball in.
He put his teammates first, passing it to Simmons through a closing window and then dishing it to Dario Saric even though he had a wide open lane to the hoop.
Arcidiacono is more of a shooter than McConnell but McConnell makes up for it on the other end, locking down opposing point guards. As a starter, McConnell turned “Scary” Terry Rozier into frightened Terry, holding him to his series-low 11 points in game 4.
Even though Arch is known for his three-pointers more than his hustle plays, there were a few hidden gems.
Arcidiacono put his body on the line, flying into the stands like Dennis Rodman.
Ben Simmons, in an interview with 247Sports, laid claim to what McConnell brought to the Sixers, “That fire within. He’s not the biggest or most athletic guy, but he has an energy that he brings every night and is a huge part of this team.” If Arcidiacono showcases his fire within then he could make impacts akin McConnell.
The Eastern Conference Semifinals series goes to show how a leader comes in many forms. A form that Arcidiacono must manifest to make it in the NBA.
How Arcidiacono could Improve
Arcidiacono could improve on the defensive end. McConnell allowed 105 points per 100 possessions while Arcidiacono allowed 112 points per 100 possessions in a smaller sample size. In college, Ryan allowed a sparse 97.9 points in 100 possessions. T.J., on the other hand, allowed 88.2 points per 100 possessions at Arizona. Arch should spend time in the gym doing lateral footwork drills so he could defend quicker, more explosive guards.
McConnell is Robin Hood compared to Arcidiacono. He stole the ball 2.9 times per 40 minutes while Arcidiacono only stole the ball 1.5 times per 40 minutes. Conceding that Ryan can improve his foot speed and anticipation, he will garner steals at a higher rate.
Bulls fans have grown to adore Arch following his debut season. He can learn a great amount from another star college point guard like McConnell. It will be interesting to see if he can exceed expectations and become a nice piece for the Chicago Bulls.