On April 13, 2016, Kobe Bryant played in his final game in the NBA, and a big issue during that season was figuring out who the Los Angeles Lakers would hand over the keys to the franchise to.
Years earlier, the Lakers believed it was going to be Dwight Howard, but then he got called soft and left town. So yea, it wasn’t him. Then the Lakers believed it was possibly D’Angelo Russell. At first, it seemed like that was going to be the case. The promising rookie showed flashes of stardom, but Magic Johnson thought all of his past drama was too much for the team.
Then, the King arrived. In LeBron James, the Lakers finally had the superstar they had been waiting for. But Johnson always talked about how he wasn’t done, and wanting to pair him with another superstar. The Lakers thought maybe it could be Brandon Ingram, and many people — including myself — believe he is going to be one, but the Lakers decided they didn’t want to wait and see if that was the case.
They wanted to make a splash in either a trade or free agency to partner LeBron with another star... but then they realized they had a superstar all along...
All right, let me start by saying this: Alex Caruso is probably not actually the Lakers’ next star. But jokes aside, Caruso is a LEGIT NBA player. Jokes are jokes, but if we’re being real, he is currently the best point guard on the Lakers.
Stats back up that he was not only better than Rondo on the team last season, but he was also better alongside LeBron James, as lineups featuring the two scored 111.7 points per 100 possessions and held opponents to 102.6 — a net rating of 9.1 points per 100 possessions.
If you liked that stat, you’re gonna love this one. Our own Alex Regla pointed out in this article how Caruso “graded out in the 87th and 84th percentile of the league among guards in Bball-Index’s Perimeter and Interior defensive metrics. Both of which earned “A’s” in the site’s grading system.” Lastly, Caruso was the Lakers’ best three point shooter last season in the 25 games he played, shooting it at a 48.0% rate on two attempts per game.
Alex Caruso will continue to get meme’d, and that’s okay, but hopefully fans are able to separate that from that fact that he is actually really damn good at basketball. He may not actually be the Lakers’ next star, but he can really help the two they have.