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Ryan Arcidiacono is the most reliable player on the Chicago Bulls. He leads the team in games played this season with 80, the next closest teammates are Robin Lopez (73 games played) and Shaquille Harrison (72 games played).

-Before we continue, Yes, this is an entire post about Ryan Arcidiacono. No, I don’t think he’s the best player on the team, and no he is not my favorite player either. Yes, we need to talk about him, so gird your loins, here it comes…

Arch is the 3rd best player in the entire NBA in terms of assists to turnovers. He averages 4.3 assists per turnover. Only Monte Morris of the Denver Nuggets (5.6) and Tyus Jones of the Minnesota Timberwolves (6.7) have higher averages.

Arcidiacono ranks 9th in the league in Assist Ratio. Assist Ratio is the number of assists a player averages per 100 possessions. Arch is averaging 34.1 assists every 100 offensive possessions he is a part of.

Ryan Arcidiacono has been a valuable member of the Chicago Bulls. He leads the team in Win Share, a comprehensive stat that tries to put a numeric value on how many wins an individual player is responsible for. As of right now, with one game left in the season, Arch has been responsible for 3 ½ wins. That’s the most on the Bulls. No one else has broken 3 wins, not even the two best players on the team, Zach LaVine (2.8) and Lauri Markkanen (2.8).

More from Arch Madness…

Minutes per Game: 24

Field Goal Percentage: 44.8%

Three Point Percentage: 37.4%

Free Throw Percentage: 86.8%

True Shooting Percentage: 58.6%

Offensive Rating: 120 (Leads the Bulls)

Arch has some impressive looking shooting percentages to go along with his assists, and he is a leader both on and off the court.

He is also a restricted free agent this summer. Restricted free agency always begs the question: Should we bring this guy back?

You would think that after having laid out all of the ways Arcidiacono has helped this Bulls team, particularly on offense, that I would heavily favor bringing him back. For a lot of Bulls fans the decision is pretty cut and dry, you re-sign Ryan Arcidiacono. I must admit, I’m still on the fence.

There is still a lot for Arch to prove in the NBA.

He plays smaller than his already diminutive (by NBA standards) size. Because he does not have the gifts of freakish strength and athleticism that many of his fellow NBA players have, Arch must rely on craftiness and guile to beat opponents. While there is nothing inherently wrong with being a wily competitor on the court, he will always find himself at a physical disadvantage in the NBA, limiting his versatility as a defender.

Arcidiacono’s physical limitations as a defender can plainly be seen when he finds himself cross matched with an opposing big in the post. There is only one way for him to get the better of a big backing him under the rim, he has to “pull the chair out from under him,” forcing his opponent to travel. This technique, while crafty, doesn’t work very often, and Arch is usually backed down for an easy 2 points in the paint.

It’s not just bigs that Arcidiacono struggles against defensively; Bigger, stronger, and faster guards will always give him trouble as a defender, and unfortunately that’s what the NBA is full of. While players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook are tough to guard for even the most physically gifted defenders, Arch is in way over his head.

He also struggles against the length and speed of an average NBA wing like Malik Monk.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Arch is NOT a bad defender. He understands how to defend every position, and he is as tenacious a competitor on defense as he is on offense, but he is constantly physically over-matched on that end of the court. While he leads the team in offensive rating, his 115 defensive rating is one of the worst, and it has nothing to do with effort.

 

 

Ryan Arcidiacono is all heart and effort. That’s the real reason he leads the Bulls in Win Share. For every video you find on the internet of Arch getting torched on defense, there are 10 of him making a hustle play to help his team win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is why fans love Ryan Arcidiacono. He does everything he can to win. He finds ways to improve as a player, using his physical stature to his advantage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He grows and adapts. He just added the floater to his game this season. He puts in the work, constantly getting better.

And maybe that’s enough. Maybe his physical limitations are negated by the effort he plays with. Whether or not to re-sign Arcidiacono is one of many tough decisions the Front Office will have to make this offseason. If GarPax bring Arch back, I wouldn’t have a problem with it, so long as they brought in another point guard to either start in front of, or back up, Kris Dunn. If the Front Office decided to move on from Arch, I think I would be okay with that too. The real question is: Would the rest of the team be okay with it?

ArchDirects

Speaking of the Front Office, I want to end this post by weighing in on a theory that has been floating around the Bulls Interwebs regarding Ryan Arcidiacono, his playing time, and the qualifying offer sheet he would receive this summer as a restricted free agent.

As I understand it, at the end of December Arch was on pace to play over 2000 minutes this season, which would qualify him as a “Starter” for his restricted free agent status. As an undrafted, second year, NON-starter restricted free agent, Arch can expect a qualifying offer of around $1.8 million from the Bulls this summer. Not bad, but not quite as good as the $3+ million qualifying offer he would have earned if he played over 2000 minutes. Beginning in January, Arch’s minutes were reduced, and unfortunately as a result, he is not be eligible for the $3+ million qualifying offer as he enters restricted free agency. The Bulls will instead only have to offer him $1.8 million.

When Bulls super fan @ronawsumb posted a twitter thread on April 1st laying out the details of Arcidiacono missing out on over a million dollars due to reduced playing time, speculation ran rampant. Many fans blamed Coach Boylen for stiffing Arch on minutes. Others blamed the Front Office for trying to save money at the expense of their own players, and still others applauded GarPax for the exact same reason. Savvy business move? Incompetent or insensitive coaching? Coldhearted penny pinching? I don’t think we’ll ever really know why Arch missed out on that money, but I suspect it had to do with Kris Dunn being healthy and Shaq Harrison’s defense more than anything else.

If the Front Office did mandate a reduction in Arch’s minutes in order to save cap space this summer, well, that’s a pretty shitty move. Especially when it’s Arch we’re talking about, the most reliable, try-hard player on the roster. He is the one guy who actually embodies the tough-as-nails, win-at-all-costs, team first, play-the-game-the-right-way attitude the Front Office is trying to install as the “Culture” for this franchise. If they did sabotage his minutes and the rest of the League finds out, there won’t ever be a big name free agent willing to sign with the Bulls ever again.

Ryan Arcidiacono is a good basketball player. I bet he ends up making over $3 million next season after he negotiates a new contract this summer. Even if he doesn’t, $1.8 million is nothing to sniff at. He’ll be okay. It’s the Bulls I’m not so sure about.

 

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