After spending most of the past two seasons fighting for a roster spot, Alex Caruso was finally rewarded with a two-year, $5.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Caruso won over the Lakers with his defensive hustle and steady play while he was on a two-way deal. After shuffling between the South Bay Lakers and the parent team, he proved he was worth keeping around in the 2019 NBA offseason and now figures to be a part of head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation.
With Los Angeles signing several guards, Vogel may be looking to have Caruso play some minutes off the ball as evidenced by how he has been used in scrimmages.
“It’s been a pretty even mix because depending on… I mean you only have two teams of five and we have a handful of guards that play point, so I mean I’ve worked on-ball with Rondo, off-ball with Rondo, on-ball with Quinn, off-ball with Quinn, same thing with Avery. And Bron’s been out the last couple days, so I’m sure it’d be the same way,” Caruso said.
“It’s been a good dosage of both. I think I’m really a diverse player, I think I can do both. I think it just benefits me in the long run.”
That versatility to play both guard spots could end up being huge for the team in the event that any injuries occur. Caruso believes that the current roster is capable of being able to fill in when someone misses time.
“Yeah, I think so. I mean even on a broader spectrum, there’s 82 games in the season and for where this team wants to go, there’s gonna be games after those 82, so it’s gonna take everybody to get to that point,” Caruso said.
“There’s gonna be times where guys are hurt or guys or… like we said are older and need to take some rest to recover, so we’re gonna be able to step in with whoever it is that needs to plug in and be able to get the job done on a given night.”
One of the criticisms of the current roster is their perceived lack of depth at the lead guard position as only Caruso and Rondo are the primary ball-handling guards.
While James will more than likely resume his role as the de-facto point guard, it would still help to have another ball-handler on the team to alleviate his playmaking burden.
With less than a full season of games under Caruso’s belt, his level of play may end up being crucial to the purple and gold’s success.