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Arcidiacono Continues to be Steady Presence for Bulls

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At this time last year, Ryan Arcidiacono was on a two-way contract, mostly playing in the G-League with the Chicago Bulls’ affiliate, the Windy City Bulls. Now, Arcidiacono is on an NBA roster, proving himself to be one of the most reliable players on a young, shorthanded Chicago Bulls team.

On Saturday, as if he were paying homage to the path he took to get to an NBA contract, Arcidiacono made his first career NBA start during Windy City Bulls night.

He set a new career-high in scoring with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, grabbed four rebounds and dished out a pair of assists. The highlight of his first start, though? A team-high plus-minus of plus-11.

“Ryan was awesome,” Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said of Arcidiacono’s first start in an article from Bulls.com. “He was the best plus/minus guy we had, a plus-11. And he shot it well. He’s playing with a ton of confidence right now. He’s our best talker out there on the floor right now with Bobby (Portis) on the bench. He was really good all across the board.”

Teammates Appreciate Archie

In an article from the Chicago Tribune, Jabari Parker and Zach LaVine expressed their appreciation for the point guard out of Villanova:

“I love all my teammates, especially Archie. He plays hard,” Jabari Parker said. “That’s a person I aspire to be and I look up to him a lot.”

Added Zach LaVine: “Archie is not scared of anything. Even if he makes a mistake, he’s doing it with effort. And he cares. … I love Arch.”

His Journey to the Association

Arcidiacono was the 2016 NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after helping Villanova to a national championship. He played for the San Antonio Spurs’ Summer League team and a couple games with Austin, their G-League affiliate. Archie was set to play professionally in Italy, but the deal fell through. As such, Arcidiacono’s first full professional season was as a two-way player last season. It doesn’t give him much experience to fall back on, but it hasn’t stopped him from making an impact on undermanned team.

Injuries Provide Opportunities

With several Bulls sidelined to begin this season — one of which is starting point guard Kris Dunn — many younger players have had the opportunity to see meaningful minutes, and Arcidiacono has been making the most of it.

For the season, he’s averaging 7.0 points, 4.3 assists and 1.8 rebounds while shooting 53.7 percent from the field over 24.9 minutes per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 5.30, which is good enough for third in the league, is even more impressive.

But those are just the things that show up in the box score.

In addition to defense and reliable playmaking, Arcidiacono’s grit and willingness to make hustle plays are what earned him the starting role over Cameron Payne.

Ryan Hinrich?

Arcidiacono has also drawn comparisons to another 6-foot-3 guard who played for the Bulls, Kirk Hinrich — and understandably so.

Hinrich wasn’t the most athletic player nor did he put up the best numbers, but he made a career on his defense, reliability and toughness. If a Bulls player had to be used to define “grit,” then Hinrich would be the perfect choice.

Arcidiacono is similar; what he lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in effort. He can be relied on to defend, make the right pass and make hustle plays. And it’s just what the Bulls need.

The Bulls are a young, inexperienced team with talent and potential. But with Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine all injured, Chicago lacks a great deal of its key players. This forces younger guys to step up and learn quickly because there are only so many players available. With that comes inevitable mistakes and growing pains, so it’s nice to have as much stability as possible. Arcidiacono, though only in his second NBA season, has provided that. It won’t necessarily make it so he maintains the starting point guard spot once Dunn returns, but it does bode well for not only his future with the Bulls but in the NBA in general.

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About Ashley Wijangco

Ashley is a writer based in the Chicago suburbs who has over seven years of sports writing experience. She writes about the Bulls and general NBA content for TLSM. Twitter: @wijangco12

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