Coming off an electric end to the 2018-2019 season, Alex Caruso earned himself a promotion from a two-way player to a full-fledged member of the Lakers’ squad in 2019-2020. Averaging 17.2 points, 8.4 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game in April, Caruso looks to start the year off with a much larger role compared to last season. Sharing point guard duties with Rajon Rondo and Quinn Cook, Caruso should have every chance to establish himself as the de-facto starter should he continually outplay the other two early and often.
Alex Caruso Explains LeBron James’ Impact on the Lakers
Despite Caruso having his breakout after James had been shut down for the year, the two looked to share strong on-court chemistry. Caruso’s ability to make smart cuts to the basket and knock down open three-pointers make him an excellent off-ball point guard to complement James.
Caruso seems to know he fits well alongside LeBron as he told Spectrum Sportsnet that he feels James “makes the game so easy for me.” The constant attention James receives on the court along with his ability to make the smart play allow Caruso to thrive. Citing LeBron’s basketball IQ, Caruso says he and LeBron read one another well and that mutual trust exists between them that the other will make the right play.
Beyond just talking about James, Caruso commented on the versatility and impact that Anthony Davis brings to the Lakers. While Caruso briefly mentioned his impact on the offensive end, he talked at length about the defensive mindset and overall ability that the addition of a world-class defender brings to the Lakers. Without getting too ahead of himself, Caruso feels the Lakers could be one of the better defensive teams in the league.
Alex Caruso’s Long, Winding Road to the NBA
Caruso was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and widely considered one of the better guard prospects in his class. Despite coming in as one of Texas A&M’s better recruits, his stats never jumped off the page during his four seasons with the Aggies, instead playing within his role and posting well-rounded and efficient box scores.
Despite showing a high-level IQ, great size, excellent athleticism, and a quality defensive foundation, Caruso went undrafted and signed with the Thunder’s G-League affiliate. Caruso would spend one season there before joining the Lakers’ summer league squad in 2017 where he would have his first breakout showing. On a team loaded with names like Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart, Caruso stood out as one of the team’s best and most reliable options.
Following his strong showing, the Lakers offered Caruso a two-way deal, where he would continue to hone his craft with brief showings at the NBA level over the next two seasons. While timid at first, Caruso steadily got more comfortable in the NBA and was able to make the most of his opportunity when handed the keys to the offense at the end of last season. A true testament to the capability of the G-League to find underrated prospects and give them the proper space to develop, Caruso’s path to a permanent roster spot in the NBA is one of the better feel-good stories heading into the season.