As the Los Angeles Lakers filled out their roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis this July, they had to make decisions on several players from last year’s team and whether they would bring them back. One play they ultimately chose to keep was third-year vet Alex Caruso who spent the last two seasons as a two-way player for the organization.
This year, Caruso will be with the parent team the whole time and will have much higher expectations in terms of contributing to winning basketball. In fact, as he told Richard Croome of Aggie Sports, the Lakers have told him that he will have the chance to be a big contributor on the team (h/t Christian Rivas of Silver Screen and Roll):
“I’ve been assured an opportunity to get minutes, and I think I complement this team very well, but obviously, nothing is given to you,” Caruso said. “It will be a fun test for me to see how I adjust to playing 82 games. I think I will still be going off of adrenaline.”
While that shouldn’t be surprising, it is still a promising sign. Sometimes, NBA politics get in the way of sound decision making. Caruso has less of a reputation than anyone he will be competing with for the guard position minutes.
The Lakers have several guards on the roster that will all have the opportunity to fight for playing time. Outside of Danny Green, none of them are so far ahead of the others to be penciled in as a starter or rotation minute.
Caruso, therefore, will have a great chance of pulling away from the competition as many Lakers fans hope. Last year, the 25-year-old averaged 9.2 points and 3.1 assists per game in just 25 contests. He shot the ball extremely well (48% on 3-pointers) in his limited playing time. On top of that, he is arguably the best defender out of the Lakers’ guard options not including Green.
Lakers fans are generally hoping that Caruso will take enough of a leap to start or at least play rotation minutes for the team. His skill set fits well with the superstar duo of James and Davis and he doesn’t generally make mistakes, making him a high-floor and low-risk player to put on the court. If he makes improvements to his playmaking, it would be hard to argue that he’s not deserving of the starting point guard spot.