After six different Wildcats made their first step into the NBA regular season on Wednesday night, the remaining two got their first taste of action on Thursday night. Ryan Arcidiacono (Bulls) and Josh Hart (Lakers), two instrumental pieces in the 2016 National Championship run, hit the court for their respective teams.
From Tuesday through Friday, each time a former Wildcat hits the court, we will recap how they did and include a few highlights (if available). On Tuesdays, we’ll also recap what happened over the weekend, so you don’t miss the action. This will also serve as a discussion board. We will try to keep it updated as soon as the games are over, so check back often!
Arcidiacono capitalized on an opportunity for extra action in the absence of former Providence star Kris Dunn. He checked into the game in the 1st quarter and saw minutes well before the Sixers put the game out of reach. It looked like vintage Arch at the Wells Fargo Center. He ended up playing 28 minutes, with eight points, eight assists, four boards, and zero turnovers. On a night where the Bulls shot 33 percent from three, Arcidiacono went 2-for-3. Unfortunately, his Bulls would lose, 127-108, to the Sixers.
The Bulls have eight players that you could argue are guards on their depth chart. They are a young group of athletic ball handlers who play strong defensively. Where most of them tend to struggle is in shooting and turnovers. With performances like tonight, Arcidiacono may be able to continue getting solid minutes by filling that void.
Up Next: vs. Detroit on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 8:00 p.m. ET
With LeBron James and a brigade of veterans coming to L.A this summer, the Lakers have a new look. Hart and fellow 2017 draftees Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma were all left out of the starting lineup. Coming into the season it was natural to wonder how Hart’s role might change. The answer tonight seemed to be very little.
Early on the young rotation struggled, but Hart elevated his play in the second quarter and was a key factor for the rest of the game. With the score 83-82 Trail Blazers, Hart drained the Lakers first 3-pointer of the season. He followed it up two minutes later with a buzzer-beater to end the third quarter.
The Trail Blazers went on to win 128-119, but Hart provided a spark for the Lakers on both sides of the ball. He made several difficult finishes at the hoop, and was efficient shooting finishing with 20 points on 8-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 from deep. Defensively, he was at times tasked with covering C.J McCollum and met the challenge. He generated three steals and two blocks on the night.
Hart’s versatility on defense and efficiency on offense seem to make him an integral part of the Lakers plans despite having a different this season.
Up Next: vs. Houston on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)