Now that he’s secured one of the Los Angeles Lakers two two-way contracts for the upcoming season, undrafted point guard Alex Caruso says his NBA dreams are finally starting to feel real.
“The fact that I’m so close (and) I’ve put in so much work from high school to now, each year that passes it becomes more of a reality that I have a legit shot to play in the NBA,” Caruso told Colin Deaver of KAGS News in a televised interview. “That fuels me to keep going. To play even harder, to work even harder. To take diet and sleep more seriously. Just being ready to take advantage of the opportunity when it comes.”
Caruso took advantage of his opportunity when on the Lakers’ summer league roster, playing solid back-up minutes off of the bench and ably filling in for Lonzo Ball when the highly-touted point guard rested or missed games with injury. That level of ability was widely-unexpected from Caruso, who wasn’t exactly a household name after one year in the NBA D-League (now the G League).
But while it may not have been expected, Caruso’s strong play is a large part of the reason the Lakers decided to lock him up on a two-way deal that will allow him to spend up to 45 days on the Lakers’ roster while spending the rest of the year with the South Bay Lakers, the Lakers’ G League affiliate. Caruso knows that all he can do now is play his best and let the cards fall where they may.
“When I’m with my high school friends we talk about it and we kind of joke around, like ‘what you going to do when (some notable NBA player) is coming at you in transition?’ I’m like, ‘man, I’m going to do my best to just do something and not let them score,” Caruso chuckled. “When that time comes I’m going to be obviously very humbled to be in that situation, but I’m going to do my best to hold my own. Make a stop, get to the basket and make plays like I always do.”
What Caruso has always done has worked out in a two-way contract that leaves him on the fringes of the NBA, so it’s hard to argue with his methods so far. We’ll see if it results in a full-time call-up this season or moving forward.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.