Alex Caruso has spent the last two seasons on one of the Los Angeles Lakers two-way deals and during this time, he played a total of 62 games but wildly impressed people in several of those games.
The pinnacle of that was a 32-point, 10-rebound, five-assist, and two-steal outing in a win against the Los Angeles Clippers near the end of the 2018-19 NBA season.
It was performances like this that likely brought Caruso a two-year, $5.5 million deal to return to the Lakers full time. This means that for the first time in his career, he will have the chance to play an 82-game season.
Caruso is obviously ecstatic about this test and the Lakers faith in his abilities as they have assured him that he’ll be given a chance of getting consistent rotation minutes, according to Richard Croome of Aggie Sports:
“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.”
Caruso had other options in free agency — namely significant interest from the Golden State Warriors — but he ultimately decided to stay with the Lakers, likely as a ‘thank you’ for trusting him these past two seasons.
Caruso will have a real chance to get significant rotation minutes with the point guard spot being what it is right now. The team’s forward and wing rotations are all but solidified, but their point guard rotation may take a little while to sort out.
At the moment, the only true point guards on the roster are Caruso, Rajon Rondo, Quinn Cook, and arguably Avery Bradley. Caruso was significantly better than Rondo this past season, so the question becomes which version of Bradley are the Lakers getting.
If they get Boston Celtics Bradley, then he will likely see upwards of 25-30 minutes a night, leaving very little room for Caruso to have an impact. However, if it’s Los Angeles Clippers Bradley, Caruso could find himself in the starting lineup.
Odds are the Lakers will get a version of Bradley that’s somewhere in the middle, which could still open the door for Caruso to get 15-20 minutes a night. If he can do that, it’s plausible that he’ll continue to turn heads in this league and become a valuable player for the Lakers.