The Knicks and Ryan Arcidiacono are the cure to the NBA’s scoring surge

The Knicks and Ryan Arcidiacono are the cure to the NBA’s scoring surge

Somehow, the New York Knicks are MacGyvering their way to the top of the East in a super soldier league in a manner we haven’t seen since the ‘04 Pistons. OG Anunoby’s arrival has fortified Tom Thibodeau’s defense into the NBA’s Fort Knox, and once Mitchell Robinson returns, the paint in Madison Square Garden will be one of the most secure facilities in the world. But Anunoby’s presence is only half of the equation. Reserve point guard Ryan Arcidiacono is Patient Zero doing his part to curb scoring. His 2023-24 lowlight reel is an exhibition of struggle on the same seventh circle of hell as Happy Gilmore on the putting green.

Since the season tipped off, Arcidiacono has scored exactly zero points in 20 appearances (he is averaging 2.3 MPG and is 0-for-6 from the field, all of which were taken from 3-point land). That’s more than double the previous NBA record of nine consecutive appearances without a point. The league needs to study his DNA for whatever it is preventing him from putting the ball through the hoop. This is New York basketball at its core. Gritty, over-caffeinated, overhyped and scaffolding lining the streets to protect residents from Arcidiancono’s bricks.

All jokes aside, Arcidiacono is to Jalen Brunson what Thanasis is to Giannis or Taj Gibson on another 10-day to Thibs. He’s just here for the vibes. Arcidiacono was teammates with Brunson and Josh Hart at Villanova. More specifically, as a senior Arcidiacono was Brunson’s mentor during his freshman year. As Brunson’s predecessor as starting point guard, he was a 50-40-90 shooter, which makes his predicament with the Knicks even more mysterious.

What Arcidiacono was most known for at Nova is shoveling a pass to Kris Jenkins before he pulled the trigger on a triple from the top of the key and plunged a dagger into UNC’s heart at the buzzer in 2017’s national title game. This offseason, Arcidiacono joined Brunson, Hart, Rick Brunson and Brunson’s godfather Leon Rose on the Knicks. There’s no greater dichotomy than Brunson’ and Archiacono’s trajectory.

Thibs’ defense makes it feel like you’re playing on double rims and chainlink nets, but Arcidiacono plays like he’s been traumatized in practice runs by Anunoby and Co. The NBA needs more Arcidiacono. This is an official petition for every team to give more minutes to their Ryan Arcidiacono.

There have been four 70-point games since Arcidiacono last scored a single point against the Pelicans last season when he was a Portland Trail Blazer and of the 172,453 points tallied by teams this year, he’s scored none of them. There’s nothing more relatable to the casual fan than an NBA player who is just like them. He’s on pace to be a first ballot inductee into the Bad Basketball Wing of the Naismith Hall of Fame for his valuable work in keeping scores down, alongside the Detroit Pistons. The first time he drains a shot, The Garden might drop the confetti.

The Association’s scoring surge is reaching critical mass. It’s easier to come by buckets in the modern NBA than at any point since the ABA merger. But until the NBA institutes draconian rule changes to recalibrate defenses or Congress sends resources to defend the paint, Ryan Arcidiacono and the Knicks are the heroes we didn’t know we needed.

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.