Alex Caruso became a fan-favorite this season with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Texas A&M player had a shaky start to his NBA career. He went undrafted in 2016 and eventually signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Eventually, Caruso impressed the Lakers in the 2017 NBA Summer League. He impressed the Lakers and signed a two-way contract from the G-League.
His first season as a full-time Laker saw him get limited minutes behind Rajon Rondo and KCP. But he garnered the love of ‘LakerNation’ for his intense defense. And now, Caruso has a new title- ‘NBA Champion’.
Lakers’ Assistant Coach Mike Penberthy spoke to Lakers Daily about their 2020 NBA Championship win. Penberthy praised how Alex Caruso has fit with LA Lakers.
“He fits! He’s like the perfectly fit puzzle piece. What makes Alex good, similar to what I did, you have to be a good player alongside superstars.
“You have to be a complementary player and then those guys got to want you on the floor, which was what was great about Shaq and Kobe with me. They always wanted me in the game because I add space.”
Alex Caruso was in high demand
Penberthy talked about what Caruso brings to the Lakers, and why he is popular among the rest of the squad. He said, “Caruso, LeBron, and A.D. always want him in the game because they know he can handle the ball.
“They know he can shoot the three, they know he’ll guard…he won’t make stupid mistakes. They know he likes to push the ball in transition.
“He fits alongside those two guys’ strengths as well, so that’s a big part of why Alex Caruso is so coveted around the NBA as well.”
The former Lakers’ star revealed how Alex Caruso was one of the most sought after assets for the Lakers when they were attempting to make trades.
“Every time we wanted to do a trade in the offseason or before the trade deadline, every team wanted Alex Caruso. He’s known throughout the league and respected throughout the league.
“I think his basketball I.Q. is really high. His NBA skill set is very high. He’s an above-average athlete and he’s an excellent defender. That’s what makes him so good.”
Caruso will be looking forward to the next NBA season with the Lakers, and could very well see his good performances rewarded with more playing time.