Lakers guard Alex Caruso has risen through the ranks in LA and become a fan favorite. He was one of the leading vote-getters for the all-star game last season, but obviously didn’t make the cut. While he may not be all-star level, Caruso is a very solid player and was influential in the Lakers championship run.
One reason for Caruso’s success was a fantastic connection with superstar LeBron James. In a recent interview, he reminisced about the night he and the rest of the bench unit earned the King’s trust.
“There was a road game where we played in Chicago. We came out a little flat and Chicago hadn’t won a lot of games then… We are doing everything you’re supposed to do but we’re doing it the wrong way. Gave Zach LaVine open shots, Markannen was taking shots, letting Coby White shoot.
“It was bad. We’re down like 15-16 heading into the fourth and it was the bench unit that made this huge comeback… I think that was when LeBron, it clicked for him. They (LeBron and AD) came into the game and we were down just four and we ended up winning that game.”
Lakers won that game 118-112. They outscored Chicago 38-19 in the fourth quarter. Caruso ended up with just 4 points but had 5 assists, a block, and a steal. He ended the night with a +/- of 20, the best for any player.
Lakers keeping the team intact for 2021?
With players like Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, and others all tempted to enter the free agency pool, can LA keep their championship core together? All the players could sign better contracts with other teams, as LA has two max players on the roster along with Danny Green’s 15 million a year.
However, Caruso will be back next season. He emerged from the team’s G-League affiliate and became a starter by impressing in games when most of the Lakers roster in 2018-19 went down with injuries. Caruso is now a champion and is a proven glue guy for any contending team. He may not have the same skills as some better guards in the league, but his tenacious defense and on-court aggression go a long way in helping LA dominate.
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