The Chicago Bulls are currently riding out their hottest stretch of the 2018-19 season. Ryan Arcidiacono has been a huge reason for their recent success, so here’s an appreciation post and film study for the second-year guard.
You know who’s awesome? Ryan Arcidiacono. You know who doesn’t get talked about enough? Ryan Arcidiacono. Here goes nothing.
The Chicago Bulls’ reserve guard has had the best season of his young career and it’s no fluke. All “Arch” needed to get going was an opportunity, and this year, he’s had one.
On the season, Arcidiacono is averaging a modest 5.7 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game while shooting a respectable 36.4 percent from deep. Nothing about those numbers screams “franchise cornerstone,” but he’s just as important to the Bulls’ success as anyone on the roster. He does all of the gritty things that no one wants to do (dive for loose balls, box out bigger opponents, etc.), he has an insanely high basketball IQ and he’s a phenomenal teammate. Let’s run through some examples.
If anyone knows how hard Ryan Arcidiacono works, it’s former Villanova teammate and current Los Angeles Laker Josh Hart. Recently, on Twitter, Hart confirmed to the public what Bulls fans already knew.
In case you think that Tweet is hyperbolic, check out this play:
Now on to the aforementioned insanely high basketball IQ. Did I mention that it’s on full display on the defensive end of the court? (The side of the court where most Bulls lack a high IQ)
Check out this play from Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic:
Normally, when a guy like Arch (6’3″) gets switched onto a guy like Aaron Gordon (6’9″) in the post, it’s an automatic bucket – at least it should be. But Arch had the presence of mind to do one of the savviest defensive moves in the history of basketball. As he feels Gordon start to back him down, Arch quickly back peddles or “pulls the chair out from under him.” Simply brilliant.
Arcidiacono did a similar thing the next night against Boston. This time, though, Jaylen Brown (who’s also a significantly larger human than Arch) was facing the basket and trying to initiate contact. Arch sensed that he was hunting for contact, so he did a quick little fly-by, essentially forcing Brown to throw his contact-seeking momentum into thin air.
Yes, Brown got the bucket, but he also got away with a fairly obvious travel. Nine times out of 10, that’s a forced turnover by Arcidiacono.
Another example of Arcidiacono’s defensive brilliance came in the same game against Boston when he was stuck as the help defender in a Kyrie Irving–Al Horford pick-and-roll. Similar to the play with Aaron Gordon, this normally would’ve resulted in a bucket. Once again, though, Arch had other plans.
Arcidiacono’s steal led to a big-time Zach LaVine dunk and extended the Bulls’ lead to double-digits. Most people will see this highlight and notice the pass from Otto Porter Jr. or the elevation that LaVine gets to throw down the lob, but none of that would’ve been possible without the defense from Arch.
If you think Arch can only impact games on the defensive end of the court, though, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Arcidiacono is currently third in the NBA in assist/turnover ratio among guys that play at least 20 minutes per game – a feat that shouldn’t be overlooked. His ability to consistently make the right decision with the ball in his hands is something the Bulls have desperately needed and will continue to need.
Check out this play:
Arch waits just long enough for the roll-man, Cristiano Felicio, to get open as he comes off the screen before hitting him with a perfect pocket pass.
I think you get the picture. When on the court, Ryan Arcidiacono makes winning plays. How about his time on the bench, though? Is it impactful?
You bet it is.
Good teams tend to have fun playing together. Just take a look at the Sacramento Kings. They encourage each other and seem to genuinely enjoy playing the game of basketball with one another. That stuff matters. Not only does it matter for the five guys on the court, but it also matters for the guys on the bench. Good teams have a bench that stays engaged. It’s no secret that hoopers love when the bench hypes them up after a nice play, and Arcidiacono is one of the best hype men in the business.
Keep an eye on the Bulls’ bench (specifically Arcidiacono) in both of these videos.
How could someone not love this dude? He gives his all on every play, he makes the right decisions with the ball, he uses his brain, he’s gritty and he’s a team-first guy.
Coming into this season, the jury was still out on whether or not Ryan Arcidiacono could be a serviceable NBA player. No one is questioning that now. Not only has he proven that he’s serviceable, but he’s proven that he’s good.