3. Alex Caruso
Some loyal Lake Show Life readers (thank you!!!) might be sick of me bringing up Alex Caruso. I get it. I somehow find a way to bring up the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers let Alex Caruso walk at least once a week. Some fans don’t even think this is a big deal, failing to recognize just how valuable Caruso was to the Lakers, and now is to the Bulls.
If you do not think Caruso was that big of a loss for the Lakers, let me run some numbers by you:
- Caruso’s 2.8 Defensive Box Plus/Minus this season is seventh in the NBA, third among guards
- Alex Caruso is one of just six players in the NBA with a DBPM of 2.5 or higher over the last three years with at least 3,000 minutes played (Joining Matisse Thybulle, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nerlens Noel, Draymond Green and Nikola Jokic).
- The duo of Alex Caruso and LeBron James ranked first in net points per 100 possessions in 2019-20 (min. 500 minutes). The following season they ranked 13th (min. 350 minutes).
- Alex Caruso is one of 10 players in NBA history to finish with a DBPM of 2.3+ while shooting 40% from three (min. 100 attempts). He did so in 2020-21.
Get the picture? Alex Caruso’s defense was imperative to the Los Angeles Lakers and he was fixing the holes in his offensive game. Even with those holes, LeBron and Caruso, not LeBron and Anthony Davis, were the best duo in the entire NBA when the Lakers won the title.
He was important and the Lakers let him walk so they could save money against the salary cap. Yes, I know it would have invoked an even heavier tax payment, but this is a billion-dollar sports franchise! They can afford it!
I don’t know what is worse, the fact that the Lakers were cheap and didn’t re-sign Alex Caruso when he wanted to stay in LA or that they chose Talen Horton-Tucker over him only to shop him heavily at the deadline for players who are worse than Caruso.