Los Angeles Lakers guide to understanding the Alex Caruso hype

(Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Alex Carso is different from any player in the NBA. He has the cult following rivaling LeBon James and he plays for a premier franchise. But in the analytics age of the NBA, Caruso’s production gets misunderstood while bringing some of the nastiest debates in years. Lake Show Life breaks down Caruso’s play and his celebrity.

The Los Angeles Lakers have a new crowd favorite in Alex Caruso that rivals the superstars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Alex Caruso phenomenon is real. Low-key, Caruso might have passed AD. Not in talent obviously, but in popularity. It’s probably true. It’s amazing how a guy can come out of nowhere and get this much attention.

Alex Caruso was a relative unknown playing for the South Bay Lakers last year. Now it is safe to say that he could be considered a worldwide celebrity. It took one article from a Lake Show Life colleague to get this writer’s understanding of how strongly Caruso is respected throughout Lakers Nation.

Before we get started with this complicated discussion, one thing is perfectly clear. Alex Caruso deserves every bit of celebrity that he has at this moment. He came up the hard way to the NBA and is the perfect example of the rags to riches story the NBA can sell and any sports fan will love.

But let’s be clear here. This really was an accident. The Los Angeles Lakers were a sinking ship last year waiting for the season to end for lottery position when they officially shut down Lonzo BallBrandon Ingram, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma. If the Lakers did a wink-wink admission they would admit that they wanted the same effect as Andre Ingram a couple of years ago.

The effect the Lakers got was not what they had in mind. Or anybody else.

It started quietly at first. The plan for the franchise was to make a run for a high pick in the lottery. But something strange happened. The Los Angeles Lakers won quite a few games after it was believed by many that they would lose 15 straight. The team went 8-7 with scrappy play and hustle.

Alex Caruso started a trend during that stretch. He started dunking on people.

But so what, critics would say. He can jump, but 95% of the NBA can do that. It doesn’t mean he can play basketball. Maybe he’s the Lakers version of their own movie “Maybe White Men Can Jump”.

But then the Lakers played the Los Angeles Clippers. Alex Caruso was in the starting lineup in the beginning and in the heart of the Lakers fans by the end. He destroyed Patrick Beverley that night and the surge started.

Caruso had a career-night scoring 32 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing out five assists with two steals and a block. Caruso closed out the game in the 4th quarter as the Lakers gave him the ball in crunch time and he went out and got buckets.

All of a sudden Caruso had a following, nicknames like “The CaruShow” and “Bald Mamba” started to stick. Personally, AC and the Sunshine Band was always cool.


Caruso flipped a 12 point, four assist and lights out shooting percentage into a two-year, $5.5 million contract over the summer.

With the Lakers overhauling the roster with veterans and vying for a championship run, Caruso’s role has changed and that’s where everything gets murky.

If you look at the box scores, he probably does add up to a third-string point guard in the NBA.

5.6 points and 1.7 assists a game will not overpower anyone. In reality, he is the third-string point guard behind LeBron James and Rajon Rondo.

With injuries to Avery Bradley, Kyle Kuzma and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers count on a variety of things from Caruso in close to 20 minutes a game. Even that doesn’t keep Caruso from the All-Star conversation.

That’s where the big debate starts.