Last season, Alex Caruso made the NBA Playoffs for the first time in his four-year career. During his debut playoff run with the Los Angeles Lakers, he played in all 21 games and even started Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
Now, Caruso is hungry for more. During a recent appearance on “The Long Shot” with Duncan Robinson and Davis Reid, Caruso talked about how eager he is to get back to the postseason and how his playoff experiences has changed his mindset about the regular season:
Going through the playoffs, man ... the playoffs are so addicting. It’s so much fun. It’s so much fun to play in the playoffs because, like, everything is intense, everything matters. I’m not saying regular season doesn’t matter, but there’s definitely the same attention to detail, there’s not the same intensity, there’s not the same ‘do-or-die’ mentality that you get with the playoffs. Honestly, man, like looking back now, in the regular season, these games are like ... I’m like, ‘these are fun, I like playing basketball in the NBA,’ for sure, but I cannot wait to get back to the playoffs again.
Caruso also said he has a newfound respect for his former teammate, Rajon Rondo, who has a reputation for coasting in the regular season:
Rondo, one of my favorite teammates because he’s such a great guy to compete with, he kind of gets a bad rap because he was like hit or miss in the regular season and I never really understood why, and then you hear the ‘Playoff Rondo’ thing. You hear that and he actually shows up and does it. I 100% understand what that is now.
He’s such a competitor. He’s the most competitive person I’ve ever been around. He’s such a competitor that after so many seasons in the league and playing so many regular season games, it’s like, all he wants to do is win a championship. It doesn’t matter until you get to the playoffs anyway for him, so like, seeing him in his element and then coming out and playing like that, it clicked for me. It’s like, ‘okay, I understand now.’
There’s good news and there’s bad news for Caruso.
The good news is that the Lakers will more than likely be in the playoffs again this season. They’re currently the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, 3.5 games ahead of the No. 4 seed Denver Nuggets and a half game back of the No. 1 seed Utah Jazz. Barring something catastrophic, they’ll have an opportunity to defend their title.
The bad news is that the playoffs don’t start for another three months — 107 days, to be exact. So, until then Caruso will have to stay strong and, most importantly, healthy. As far as effort goes, I think it’s safe to say we don’t need to worry about AC.