Guard Ryan Arcidiacono had no idea how often the Bulls would use him when the season started.
He knew then-coach Fred Hoiberg liked what he showed in the Summer League and into training camp, but he figured the regular season would be an entirely different animal.
It has been, but not like Arcidiacono expected.
The former Villanova standout has played in more games than any player on the roster, coming off the bench Wednesday against the Trail Blazers for his 75th appearance.
The next closest to Arcidiacono is center Robin Lopez, who appeared in his 68th game against Portland.
That’s a big step for a guy who was back and forth between the G League Windy City Bulls and the NBA Bulls last season.
“Definitely,’’ Arcidiacono said. “From going from a two-way [contract] player who played in 20-some games last year and just being out there to now actually taking control of a game, taking control of a second unit, per se, stepping in there with the first unit when need be, I think I showed I can run a team, knock down the open shot and facilitate from that point-guard spot.’’
Has he shown enough, however?
That’s a decision that has to be made during the summer. The Bulls will only have a couple of open spots between contract players and pending draft picks. If the Bulls add a veteran free-agent point guard, there would be even less opportunity for Arcidiacono to find playing time.
Arcidiacono is aware of the numbers game, but he’s also aware enough not to dwell on it.
“I mean, we’ve been evaluated all year,’’ Arcidiacono said of the fringe players on the roster. “I haven’t really thought about [next year]. I try to take it one day at a time, one game at a time, and go from there. All that stuff will figure itself out.
“I’m not going to say I don’t know where I’ll be next year. I hope it’s still in the NBA — I think it will be — but I just got to take advantage of this opportunity in these last few games.’’
The defense can’t rest
Lopez, who’ll become a free agent this summer, is another Bull who doesn’t know where he’ll be next season. But if he does come back somehow, it’s obvious which area of the team needs the most improvement.
The same aspect of the team that coach Jim Boylen discussed as a must-fix area: the defense.
“You try not to make excuses, of course,’’ Lopez said. “There have been a lot of personnel [changes], not too much consistency, and you don’t like to say it, but we are a young team. Traditionally, young teams do struggle on that end of the floor. We’re all aware that that’s something we need to work on going forward.’’
Considering the Bulls were only able to dress nine players against the Trail Blazers, Boylen said that he will meet with vice president of basketball operations John Paxson on Thursday, and there will be a discussion about possibly adding some more bodies.
“We’ll probably discuss that as we go here,’’ Boylen said. “Like I said, we’re going to get through the night and probably discuss that. As I’ve said before, John and I talk every day. . . . So we’ll discuss those things, and we’ll do what we think is best for us and where we’re at.’’