To call Alex Caruso a cult favorite would be an understatement. To call him an icon, MVP candidate, role model and/or legend is a little closer, but we’re still not all the way there yet. One day, we’ll figure out proper praise for the Bald Eagle, but human words might not actually do him justice. Much like hoping to stop him, it’s just too tall a task.
Caruso has noticed the showering of praise he’s received and told Richard Croome of The Eagle he’s enjoyed all the support:
“My Twitter feed is going crazy.” Caruso said. “It’s like a cult following. The same thing as at A&M, Laker fans are die-hard, and they took to me. It’s definitely fun, something I’m trying to get used to.”
Does playing behind Tyler Ennis and then Rajon Rondo make Caruso look like a hall-of-fame talent? Well, who’s to say, really, but he’s also made the kinds of plays that fans can really get behind. Those instances and other examples of hilarity have led to some of the more fun moments of the couple seasons he’s been a Laker.
Apparently, he’s in on the jokes as well:
Caruso’s follow dunk over Kevin Durant on a missed Rajon Rondo shot has been viewed over and over as much for the athleticism the 6-foot-5 Caruso showed as the reaction of disbelief and amazement it got from James, who was in street clothes on the bench.
There also was the night James passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list and Caruso, who was on the floor at the time, was the first to congratulate him. Social media had a lot of fun with memes portraying James as having no idea who Caruso was.
“To be honest, most of the memes I enjoy. Not many of them someone sends me I don’t laugh at myself,” Caruso said. “I don’t have to find them because we have group texts, Laker groups like in college, and they text and throw jabs when they find stuff online.”
That dunk on Durant led to quite possibly the greatest recap of all time — as is expected when writing about the Bald Mamba. But I might be biased in that assessment.
In all seriousness, Caruso deserves a ton of credit for putting himself in the position to receive all this praise and not throttling either Rondo or Ennis as they played some of the least inspired basketball ever seen on an NBA court and he had to sit there and wait for his opportunity.
Given his length, athleticism and even the shooting ability he showed last year (though he’ll probably regress from the 48 percent he shot from deep — maybe), Caruso really has the chance to be a great fit alongside LeBron James. All you really need from a LeBron point guard is someone who defends well, hits open shots and doesn’t turn the ball over.
Caruso can quite easily check all those boxes, should he get the opportunity.
Which brings us to a point I cannot type, tweet, or say on a podcast regularly enough: He has to get more minutes this season than any other point guard on the roster. He just does. If he doesn’t, Frank Vogel will have fallen victim to the same politics that had Ennis and Rondo playing over Caruso in the first place. Let’s all hope that isn’t the case and Big Balder Brand can fully show out.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.