The Chicago Bulls have a logjam of point guards heading into training camp but retaining Ryan Arcidiacono could prove its value in the short and long run.
Heading into the offseason, there’s continuing and progressing buzz around the Bulls search for a starting point guard. However, one of last season’s most important players is up for a new contract and Chicago would be wise to keep him in town. Former Villanova Wildcats standout and current Chicago Bulls point guard Ryan Arcidiacono was a key component of the Bulls’ 2018-2019 roster and they’d be wise to retain him heading into next season.
Nothing about Arcidiacono’s game is flashy. During his second season of NBA basketball, he averaged 6.7 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.7 rebounds, playing about 24 minutes per game, but shot an effective 44.7 percent from the field and 87.3 percent from the line. As the season wore on, Arcidiacono even started becoming a threat from three, shooting 37.3 percent from deep last season, but only on an average of 2.7 attempts per contest.
While his traditional stats don’t resemble an important target for retention, the 25-year-old guard proved his value doing the little things, which actually reflect in the advanced stats. Last season, Arcidiacono lead the Bulls with a 3.7 win shares. He also had an outstanding 121 offensive rating, as the offense moved better under his direction.
In general, the Bulls played a lot of their best basketball with Arcidiacono on the floor. When factoring all Bulls five-man lineups to appear in at least 5 games last season, he appears on 7-of-10 of the highest-producing lineups on offense. Maybe it’s got something to do with his aptitude for finding teammates; he ranked third on the Bulls with an 18.9 percent assist rate.
Down the stretch, Arcidiacono also got going on the scoring end. In the Bulls’ final 20 games of the season, he averaged 9.5 points and posted double-digit totals in 12 of the contests. His improved scoring is just another proving point for teams to ring his agent in free agency.
Arcidiacono was also the only Bulls player to dress for all 82 games last season, playing in 81 and starting 32; he caught a DNP-coach’s decision from Fred Hoiberg in the third game of the season (a 109-115 loss to the Dallas Mavericks). His durability is ideal for a backup point guard, who can provide quality minutes in exchange for a starter’s rest, if not games off, throughout the season.
Arcidiacono isn’t very flashy, but his resume makes him an ideal Bull
Winning the NCAA Championship at Villanova, Arcidiacono entered the league as a guy with championship credentials, but without the athletic profile to warrant a selection in the NBA draft. Over two seasons of NBA basketball, the 6-foot-3 guard continues to prove his poise.
After spending time in the G-League with the Austin Spurs and Windy City Bulls, the high-IQ guard worked his way onto the Chicago Bulls NBA roster late in the 2017-2018 season and performed well in just 24 games. In the following off-season, he signed a one-year, $1.35 million deal with the Bulls and ended up being one of the most important and playable players on last year’s roster.
Considering Arcidiacono knows how to run head coach Jim Boylen’s offense better than just about anyone, it would also be wise to keep him on the roster, if for no other reason, as a teammate teacher. If the Bulls bring in a new face in the draft or free agency, Arcidiacono can help that player learn the particulars of an offense he knows as well as anyone on the team.
Arcidiacono now hits restricted free agency and will likely return to compete for the Bulls’ second-or-third point guard spot. While the team still has to make decisions on players like Shaq Harrison, Walt Lemon Jr., and Kris Dunn, Arcidiacono should be a no-brainer to return considering his sneaky, on-court value.