Los Angeles Lakers: 3 inexperienced playoff players who could boom or bust

Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
Alex Caruso, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Lakers playoff boom or bust potential: Alex Caruso

While the Alex Caruso love is perhaps a bit embellished relative to his skill set and impact among Lakers nation, the fact is that he’s a quality defender and serviceable offensive player, albeit a bit streaky on that end of the floor.

I would be nervous about Caruso sliding into a major role with the Lakers — if Los Angeles gets to that point in the playoffs, chances are things have gotten quite dire in terms of the backcourt situation — but Caruso is one of those players that can really add noticeable impact especially if he plays to his strengths and the team deploys him in such a way that his shortcomings are covered by the other four players around him.

Funny enough, though, as Sam Oshtry pointed out, Caruso and LeBron James have an incredibly good net rating when on the floor together (+20.5) over the course of 485 minutes.

So maybe there is some method to the madness in slotting him into the starting unit. After all, between LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Danny Green, there isn’t a huge need for extra offense from Caruso if he starts in the backcourt with Green.

Of players that have played 500 minutes or more for the Lakers, Caruso is sixth in defensive box plus/minus with a 0.7. Per ESPN’s real plus/minus, Caruso is a 2.02, third in the NBA among shooting guards, where ESPN categorizes him.

I’m not totally sold on Caruso as a booming piece of the playoff recipe for the Lakers, but that isn’t a slight to him or his work ethic. Rather, Caruso is a quality defensive player, but the likelihood of him making a jump on either end in the postseason (especially in a wonky return to play scenario) is probably not going to happen.

When it comes to boom potential, though, you have to see why Caruso could be that guy. His ability to play at a high level defensively could play a major role in crunch-time situations this postseason and it could make him one of the key components to Lakers success.

Given that Caruso is a bit of a shock in general, I assume some volatility with his production when the playoffs come around, which is why I give him a low-medium rating in the bust potential category. With how consistent he’s been, I’d lean toward “low”, though.

Boom potential: Medium-high

Bust potential: Low-medium

Next. 3 reasons why the Lakers will survive without Rajon Rondo. dark