Chicago Bulls: The biggest storyline of the season is… Ryan Arcidiacono?

(John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
(John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls have had an interesting start to the 2018-19 NBA season. So far, the biggest storyline for the team has been the emergence of Ryan Arcidiacono.

The Chicago Bulls and their fanbase were extremely excited for the 2018-19 NBA season. Everyone was eager to see how star sophomore Lauri Markkanen improved over the offseason, how Jabari Parker would blend with the team and if Zach LaVine could prove he was worth his newly signed lucrative contract.

14 games into the season, Bulls Nation has a right to be a little surprised about the biggest storylines of the season.

Injuries have prevented the NBA community from seeing the progression of Lauri Markkanen, which has subsequently prevented everyone from seeing the Bulls establish an identity. Without their star player, it’s difficult to know which players will play in what roles when the team is back healthy.

Markkanen’s injury has left nearly every offensive possession in the hands of Zach LaVine, which has resulted in LaVine looking like an early candidate for the Most Improved Player award.

LaVine is averaging 27.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game on 44.8 percent shooting from the field and 32.6 percent shooting from 3-point land. Many Bulls fans would say that Zach LaVine’s attack on the league has been the biggest storyline of the season thus far, but the biggest storyline of the young 2018-19 NBA season for the Bulls has been the unexpected emergence of Ryan Arcidiacono.

Prior to this season, Arcidiacono had only played in 24 NBA games – none of them as a starter. This season, he’s played in 13 of the Bulls’ 14 games and is the newly crowned starting point guard.

To put it simply, Arch has been spectacular.

Over the last two games – both as the starting point guard – Arcidiacono has averaged 12.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Those are incredible numbers considering this is a guy who was trying to find his way into the league while playing on a two-way contract (meaning he spent some time with the Chicago Bulls and some time with their G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls) during the 2017-18 season. Now, for the 2018-19 season, Arch is averaging 7.2 points, 4.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game on a solid 50.8 percent shooting from the field and an incredible 48.8 percent shooting from 3-point territory.

The best parts of Ryan Arcidiacono’s game, however, are only found when you dig a little deeper.

Arch has an unbelievably good assist to turnover ratio, something this young Bulls team desperately needs. Ryan Arcidiacono’s 5.90 A/TO is the best in the league among players who are averaging at least 25 minutes per game. Who saw that coming?

If you told me in August that Ryan Arcidiacono would be averaging over 25 minutes per game for the Bulls, I would’ve said you’re crazy. If you continued to tell me that he would lead the league in A/TO for players that average 25+ minutes per game, I would’ve laughed and walked away.

Arcidiacono’s rise from a fringe NBA player to a solid starter/respectable rotation player has been breathtaking to watch. It’s something that nobody could’ve expected, but everybody appreciates.

Arcidiacono’s offensive play has been one of the lone bright spots for the 4-10 Bulls in the early stages of the 2018-19 NBA season.

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Oh, and he might be the Bulls’ best defender, too.