Alex Caruso has been a polarizing figure around the NBA for quite some time. He became a fan favorite for his unorthodox looks for an NBA player, with countless memes flooding social media. Thus, some of his doubters claimed he was only getting attention for his looks and being a Lakers player.
Well, turns out that that's just not true. Maybe it started like that, but Caruso has fought his way into the Lakers rotation and has earned every single minute of playing time, as well as all the praise he's getting from his peers, fans, media, and even coaching staff.
In fact, Lakers coach Frank Vogel recently acknowledged that he's a vital piece for his Championship aspirations because of all the little things he does that doesn't necessarily show up on the stat sheet:
"Alex is a vital piece to our championship aspirations. He’s so well-rounded and excels in so many different areas. He’s invaluable to what we’re trying to accomplish," Vogel said, as quoted by Mike Trudell.
Caruso is the ultimate hustler. He's put a lot of work on his defense and has even turned into a versatile defender that can check both guard spots and some small forwards. He's also a solid playmaker and a much more athletic guy people give him credit for. He's shown it with some electrifying put-back dunks.
Prior to the suspension of the season, the 'Bald Mamba' was averaging 5.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.0 steals per game on just 17.8 minutes a night and he's looked terrific during the scrimmages. He'll likely never put up All-Star caliber numbers but he definitely has Sixth Man of the Year potential, at least.