Even while the Los Angeles Lakers dominated their preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors over the weekend, questions remained about the minutes allotment at point guard. Rajon Rondo played what felt like a lifetime’s worth of consecutive minutes after not starting, and Alex Caruso saw no time alongside hardly anyone from the likely rotation outside of Dwight Howard.
Vogel didn’t comment much about the way he dispersed those point guard minutes after the game, but did offer a pretty telling tidbit when he was asked what he saw from the mostly G-Leaguers who played in the second half (via Lakers.com, emphasis mine):
“I went back and told Coby Karl that the expectation now is going to be for them to go undefeated with those guys, the way they performed in the second half. Those guys were really good.
“Zach (Norvell) shot the ball well, they all competed, Demetrius (Jackson) got to the basket, Alex (Caruso) had a strong second half. (Devontae) Cacok, he’s a beast, and we had to manage his fouls because I didn’t want to put one of my veteran centers back in late in the game. So I had to make sure he wasn’t fouling, but he played well as well.”
Okay back the f*** up.
While it’s great that Vogel liked what he saw from the Lakers’ probable minor league core, what the hell is he doing lumping Caruso in with the other members of the team who will in all likelihood be cut and end up with the South Bay Lakers? This is not to suggest that I think Vogel is planning to cut Caruso, it’s just that he lumped him in with the guys who almost assuredly will be before heading to the G League for the year.
Now, Vogel could theoretically be talking about the guys who participated in that second half and just mentioned Caruso in passing without meaning anything further to it, but Dwight Howard went unnamed there as there is zero chance he won’t be playing with the parent team.
So I ask again: What the hell is Vogel doing lumping Caruso in with the other members of the South Bay Lakers?
It was also pretty telling that Troy Daniels played point guard minutes behind Rondo as Caruso was shut out of the first half altogether. Combine all of it with my general unstable nature and YOUR BOY IS ENTERING FREAK OUT MODE.
Maybe it was just the Rondo game, where he had to go out there and show what he’s capable of alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He was always going to get the first bite at the apple given the political sway he holds, so now it’s just a matter of how long we’ll have to wait before everyone there realizes what just about the entire NBA has known for quite some time: Rondo is washed, and if you have an even-just-league-average guard on your roster, he should be prioritized.
The Lakers don’t play again until Thursday so we’ll have to wait until then to see whether it is actually something worth worrying about, but it would be legitimately disappointing if Caruso has to spend another year behind quite possibly the worst point guard in the NBA. First it was Tyler Ennis; now it’s Rondo.
We must protect Caruso at all costs. He is our national bird, and he must be allowed to fly free. Or at least allowed to fly ahead of Rondo when the games start to count.