It was only a month ago the NBA season, but during this period it has been found that the Bulls are very fond of having Guardian Alex Caruso on board. And secondly, it’s clear that the Lakers missed him in his absence.
Caruso has an impact on a vastly improved Bulls defense that took a leap from last year when Chicago was 12th with a defensive score of 111.5 per 100 possessions.
The Lakers are now 12NS in the defensive rating, significantly lower than last year – when LA took first place in the NBA.
Of course, that’s not all a Caruso factor. But the Bulls are fifth on distractions at 16.6 per game while the Lakers are 11NS on 15.0. Last season Chicago was 26NS with deflections. Individually, Caruso took first place in this category in the NBA with 4.4 per game and third in steals with 2.5 per game.
The funny thing is, when Caruso returns to Los Angeles for a game against the Lakers, where he spent the first four seasons of his career, he says he owes two very celebrity Lakers for making their way to those defensive numbers have pioneered.
In his podcast, The Old Man and the Three by ex-NBA star JJ Redick, Caruso spoke about the development of his defensive instincts, which he had sharpened in Los Angeles over the past few years.
“That’s the difference between thinking and knowing,” said Caruso. “If you have to think about what’s going on, you’ll be slow for half a second. If you already know what to do, that extra 0.7 seconds, I’m already walking in one direction or already turning in one direction. I’ll attribute some of that to Rondo and LeBron, man. You are just so smart. “
James joined the Lakers after Caruso’s rookie season, so Caruso played with him for three years. Rondo joined the Lakers at the same time but signed with Atlanta prior to the 2019-20 season and was subsequently traded to the Clippers. He signed with Lakers again this year.
“To see how they work for a couple of years and how they communicate and think and show and tell people where to go before something happens,” said Caruso. “I tried to take a bit of it with me. And of course, I think the more I get away from them, the better I will get, and I will pressure myself to be good at it. But they know what’s going on. It’s like chess. You are two steps ahead. “
Caruso left the Lakers in Free Agency last summer when he signed a four-year, $ 37 million deal with the Bulls. He told Redick that he gave the Lakers a chance to meet the offer and even told LA he would give a discount to stay with the purples-and-golds. He didn’t sound bitter, but it indicated that the Lakers had knocked him down.
“Basically, we got this offer, went back to LA, asked if they could do the same, they said ‘no,’” said Caruso. “When asked about something else that was a little less, they said ‘No.’ So I said, ‘OK, when it comes down to it, I’m ready to go to Chicago and start the next chapter.’ It was great. I think it was a great decision for me. “
Redick had a guess as to what the Lakers’ best offer was and asked Caruso to blink once if the offer was less than two years and $ 15 million. Caruso only blinked once, suggesting the Lakers were never really interested in keeping him long term.