Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ryan Arcidiacono's strange sophomore slump

One of the most bizarre aspects of Villanova's success thus far this season is Ryan Arcidiacono's struggles, especially shooting the ball from the perimeter. He has been a net-positive player, mostly due to the fact that he has played better than average defense, but both his offense and defense are still noticeably worse than the team average. He is also being significantly outplayed by his backup Dylan Ennis, who has arguably been Villanova's best player on a per minute basis.

There are some peculiar things about Arcidiacono's season though. Yes, he is scoring 2.7 fewer points per game, but direct comparisons of points per game, etc. are not the best way to evaluate performance, because last season he was playing a ridiculous 34 minutes per game compared to 30.7 thusfar this season. His two biggest weaknesses last season were the fact that he turned the ball over 2.8 times per game and shot 38% from inside the three point line. This season, he's shooting 58.6% from inside the three point line and turning the ball over only once per game. Last season, his biggest strength was that he was able to get to the free throw line 4.4 times a game and convert on 82.4% of his attempts. So far this season, he is getting to the line 1.9 times per game and only converting 68.4% of those attempts, so basically, if he was both taking and making free throws at the same clip that he was in 2012-2013, he would be scoring the same amount of points as he was last year. The bizarre thing is that Villanova as a team is taking more than three and a half more free throws a game over last season's team, yet Arcidiacono's rate has gone down substantially.

So if Ryan "Hubris" Arcidiacono gets to the line more often and makes his free throws, starts converting three pointers at a rate that isn't absolutely putrid, and keeps nailing two-pointers, he'll be producing at a rate better than he did last season.

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