Before the NBA restart even began with scrimmage games, the Los Angeles Lakers faced a reality of being down two guards in their rotation with Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo.
With their best perimeter defender and one of their top playmakers out, the pressure will be on the other Lakers guards to step up. Much of that will fall on fan favorite Alex Caruso.
This season, Caruso has shown that he was not just a flash in the pan and has been one of the team’s best reserves with his defense and overall energy. But now Caruso will need to take on an even bigger role and he is prepared for that responsibility.
“With Avery gone, we were probably learning more toward me and KCP trying to pick up some defensive duties as far as guarding the lead ball-handler to start games. We’re still figuring that out,” Caruso said during a teleconference.
“But now with Rondo gone, we’re going to have to do some more supplemental ball-handling because he ran point guard a lot for the second unit. I’m expecting to do a little bit of that.”
Caruso has been a positive on defense this season so picking up that slack is right in his wheelhouse and should be something he can thrive in. Though he isn’t the playmaker that Rondo is, he is undoubtedly capable there as well, and has had some big assist games throughout his time with the Lakers. But he won’t be alone in picking up the slack.
“We’ve got me, Quinn and other guys that can fill in and run the show. Whoever is going to be called upon is going to be ready to go. That’s kind of been the theme of this year the whole year,” Caruso noted.
“Whenever we’ve had guys down, whoever has been the backup has stepped into their spot and filled the role very well. I think that’s going to continue to be the theme. We’re going to work in the new guys and see how they are.”
Every Lakers player has been called upon at different points this season. Quinn Cook has had his moments as has Jared Dudley and now with Dion Waiters and JR Smith being brought in, they will certainly have their chances to show what they can bring to the table and step up in the absence of a pair of important Lakers.
Caruso to wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ on jersey
When Caruso is on the court for the Lakers, he will have an important message on the back of his jersey. Many players have chosen to wear one of many approved by the league on their jerseys and Caruso felt that it was important to do something impactful in this ongoing social justice fight.
“I went through the ones that I thought would be important to me and impactful to wear,” he said. “I thought about the people that look up to me, the people that watch me play and the people that tell me on Instagram, Twitter, random spots in L.A. or back home, that they look up to me and I’m an inspiration to them with where I’ve gotten and the way I play.
“A lot of those things went into. ‘Black Lives Matter’ seemed to be the one that just struck a chord with me and I thought would be the most impactful.”
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