During the Las Vegas Summer League, Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball put the world on notice that he would make a huge impact. He won Summer League MVP and helped lead the Lakers to a championship in Las Vegas. He wasn’t the only point guard to make an impact for the Lakers however.
Undrafted Alex Caruso stepped up for the Lakers when Ball was injured. In particular, Caruso’s performance against the Sacramento Kings helped him land a two-way contract with the Lakers so they can continue to develop him.
Caruso has had the opportunity to be part of Lakers training camp where he is again teamed up with Ball. He spoke about his time with Ball in Summer League saying the two had chemistry together via Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
“We had a really good chemistry .… I don’t think anyone hurt themselves. Everybody improved their situation .… For me, when I was backing up Lonzo, I just tried to fit into any role that I was playing on a given night.”
Caruso has also had the chance to be around Ball a lot now and in addition to his outstanding talent, Caruso notes that Ball is really just like everyone else despite all of the fame surrounding him:
“He’s an incredible player. He’s still 19. When I was 19 I couldn’t do the things he was doing. He pushes the ball well. He’s just one of the guys. Everybody likes to make a big deal out of the Ball name and the BBB brand. But when he’s on the court he’s just one of the guys. I think guys gravitate toward that, that he can have all that but when it’s time to play he just gets down to business.”
One of the best things about Ball is his demeanor on and off the court. With his father LaVar constantly putting more expectations on him it could be easy to distance himself from the team, but Ball is able to instead draw teammates in.
Caruso has been able to witness this firsthand, both in Las Vegas and now in the preseason. Ball’s stat line may not always be amazing, but his impact is already stretching beyond that.