After four seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Alex Caruso inked a deal with the Chicago Bulls over the summer. Over 22 games so far, the backup point guard has impressed a lot of people, including his new teammate DeMar DeRozan.
Speaking to the media, DeRozan gave a glowing review of Caruso, illustrating his importance on the defensive side of the ball.
“He’s a dog, man,” Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan said. “It’s times we look at the stat sheet after the game and it’s like four or five steals. Just the energy that he brings defensively triggers us because we try to live up to the standards that Alex is going to bring out there on the court. And it’s big. It’s exciting to see. It’s incredible the things that he does defensively.”
Caruso, 27, has become a fan favorite in the community for the energy and effort he puts in every single game and that may have something to do with going undrafted in 2016.
As for Caruso, he has had to scrap and claw his entire career. He was undrafted out of Texas A&M in 2016. He had to prove himself in the G League. He then turned a two-way contract with the Lakers into a standard, two-year, $5.5 million deal by playing hard-nosed defense and leaving his heart on the court in every moment.
"Thirty-two teams thought I wasn't good enough to play in the NBA," Caruso said, apparently so upset by the slight that he invented two extra teams. "That's something I've just carried with me every game that I play. I try to go out there and prove that I'm supposed to be there."
He plays every game like he's got something to prove, and it has made him one of the most valuable and beloved bench players in the entire NBA.
This season, he's averaging 8.6 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in a career-high 29 minutes per game of the bench and he's doing many other things that aren't reflected on the stat sheet.
The Bulls, meanwhile, are proving to be among the best teams in basketball. They're 2nd in the East with a 15-8 record overall.