Close your eyes and picture this. In the NBA, there’s a 6’5″ point guard with high energy and the ability to jump through the roof. This guard is an excellent defender that’s ranked in the top 10 for defensive rating, according to NBA.com. This player simply has a knack for making things happen. Also, this guard is white with a bald spot. Now, if you open your eyes, you’ll see that the player in question is Alex Caruso.
This past Tuesday night’s game was the perfect example of what Caruso can do on the basketball court. Productive and exciting plays seem to happen when Caruso is in the game. Whether it was the through the legs pass to a trailing LeBron James or the emphatic block on Lonzo Ball, Caruso provides the spark off the bench for a Los Angeles Lakers team with title aspirations.
With plays like that, you would think the “Bald Eagle” is the first man off the Lakers bench. However, that assumption is incorrect. On most nights, Caruso seems to make his way into a SportsCenter highlight, and yet Frank Vogel has played Caruso less than 16 minutes in four of the last seven games. In three of those four games, Caruso played less than eight minutes.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis may be the best duo in the league, but statistically, LeBron and Caruso have the best net rating of any two-man combo in the NBA that’s played more than 150 minutes. Davis said that Caruso “always seems to make the right play, and he always tends to be in the right position at the right time all the time.” Vogel continues to tease that Caruso is the “secret weapon,” but why keep a weapon in the holster if it makes your star players better?
Despite his play on the court, Caruso is always going to be associated as “the white dude with the bald spot.” Twitter adores him and continuously calls him “the goat.” Caruso even finished fourth in the fan vote for the All-Star Game, which was higher than Russell Westbrook, Donovan Mitchell, and Devin Booker. I’m guilty of adoring Caruso as well. I started the hashtag, #ACToDunkContest, to get Bald Eagle to All-Star Weekend. Carusomania has spread to other cities as the undrafted guard received “MVP” chants in Golden State despite only averaging 5.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.
Caruso mirrors The Fast and Furious franchise. It’s fun to joke around about the films’ ridiculous premises and unrealistic action sequences. We laugh at the “Fast and Furious 20: We’re Still Fast And We’re Still Furious” jokes. Despite its flaws, the Fast franchise is one of the 10 highest-grossing movie franchises of all time. The films are high octane thrill rides that are enjoyable from start to finish. Simply put, they’re good movies.
Caruso may be the butt of a few jokes, but Caruso is the farthest thing from a joke. Like the Fast saga, Caruso is energetic, fun to watch, and downright good. At the end of the day, Caruso will get a chance to shine in the playoffs and he’ll have the opportunity to be an integral reason for a few Laker wins. It’s all fun and games for now, but if Caruso hoists the NBA Title in June, he’ll have the last laugh.
Thoughts on Alex Caruso? Leave your remarks in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.