Los Angeles Lakers: Alex Caruso is so good… If he could hit some shots

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Alex Caruso is still a step away from being the definitive weapon for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Who would have thought that, of the players on the Los Angeles Lakers‘ 2017 Las Vegas Summer League championship team, the ones in the 2020 NBA Playoffs would have been Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso and Matt Thomas, while 2nd overall pick and SL MVP Lonzo Ball has not experienced the postseason yet.

Even more, who expected that Caruso would be the point guard on the contending Los Angeles Lakers while Lonzo is on his second team, already mentioned in new trade rumors?

At 6’5″ from Texas A&M, Alex Caruso went undrafted in 2017, but his showing in Summer League was strong enough to earn him a two-way contract with the Lakers. From there, he kept building on his achievements, ending up full-time on their roster. He is now an instrumental piece of the bench of an LA team that aims to the championship.

His defense has become key for the purple and gold, allowing them to slow down Damian Lillard and James Harden in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and he is expected to do the same with Jamal Murray in the upcoming Western Conference Finals.

His playmaking, decision-making and team managing on the floor have also been fundamental in the first round, with a roster depleted of ballhandlers, and his chemistry with LeBron James makes it hard to get him out of the floor.

Nor can we forget the Carushow with the highlight plays of Alex dunking over the head of his opponents and turning on the crowd (when available).

His serviceability increased his minutes and his production in the playoffs, reaching 6.9 points, 3 assists and 1.2 steals.

All of this would make Caruso the perfect piece for a contender, providing key contributions and intangibles at a minimum cost. And yet, one thing separates him from the perfect weapon, which could also raise his value and earn him more money. His shooting.

After a promising improvement in the three-point last year, making 48 percent of his attempts from the arc over 25 games, the Lakers offered him a two-year contract, hoping that the strong finish he had in the season would translate in the following one.

Unfortunately, everything worked beside his shot. This year Caruso shot 33.3 percent from deep, which got worse in the playoffs, dropping to an abysmal 28.1 percent. The Lakers did not sweat in the first round without Rajon Rondo, thanks to Caruso providing a steady presence off the bench. But his frozen hand is probably what is preventing him from cracking more minutes.

In just 23.9 per game, he is shooting 3.2 threes, 57 percent of his attempted shots, and failing to convert them hurts his impact on the game. As much work he does on the defensive end, it is partially thwarted by his limited scoring. He could mean so much more for LA.

Lakers fans would love to see their idol earn a bigger role, have a bigger impact on the game and receive more money. He just needs to prove he can become a reliable shooter.

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Every series is a different story, and Alex could suddenly find his rhythm in the conference finals and change the narrative, but until then, Frank Vogel will have to limit his time on the floor and not be able to take full advantage of all the pluses he provides.