It’s not often you see an undrafted player climb their way up the ranks to become a pivotal rotational player for an NBA team, let alone the Los Angeles Lakers. However, with Alex Caruso, his journey with the Lakers is a unique one.
Caruso played collegiate basketball with Texas A&M but went undrafted in 2016. The 6’4″ guard spent time playing for the Oklahoma City Blue, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s G League affiliate, in the days where the development league was referred to as the D-League.
His feisty style of play ended up garnering the attention of Nick Mazzella, the South Bay Lakers general manager, in 2017 during the NBA’s Elite Mini Camp in Chicago.
Caruso would later join Mazzella and play for the Lakers in the 2017 Summer League in Las Vegas, but he didn’t look like a typical basketball athlete, according to Sports Illustrated:
At the Summer League first practice, one of the coaches called me over and said, ‘Who gave the UPS guy a jersey?’ ” says Mazzella.
Today, Caruso’s far removed from the days of being confused with a UPS employee. Coming off a season where he played an immense role in winning the championship in the Orlando bubble, Caruso’s evolved into an imperative two-way three-and-d prototype.
His 3-point percentage has hovered around 40% on more than two attempts per game this season while providing a defensive presence the Lakers can rely on to match up with the opposing team’s best guard.
During different points of the season, Caruso has helped stymie some of the league’s best guards such as Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry. He’s fighting through screens, supplying solid close-outs on shooters, jumping passing lanes and rotating brilliantly.
He’s also a lethal off-ball shooter that fits perfectly alongside the creativity of LeBron James and Dennis Schroder, including Anthony Davis when he returns from injury sometime after the All-Star break.
The Lakers possess a strong guard rotation, and Caruso can be found at the core of it.
Caruso signs shoe contract with ANTA
Caruso has been a fan-favorite player in L.A. ever since his debut, but his popularity continues to spike across the basketball spectrum.
Caruso recently signed a multi-year sneaker contract with ANTA, joining other widely reputed athletes like Klay Thompson, Kevin Garnett and eight-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as representatives of ANTA.
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