The REAL Reason Why Alex Caruso Is SO Important To LeBron & The Lakers In The NBA Bubble (Ft. Memes)
Alex Caruso helps LeBron and the Lakers a lot in the NBA. Here’s why. Get 20% + Free Shipping + 2 Free Gifts @Manscaped with code ALLDAY at Manscaped.com! (mnscpd.com/MJ2KALLDAY) REACTION CHANNEL: usworlds.info/slow/video/ioqpjqeohpiBnmI @MJReactsALLDAY #Caruso #NBA #LeBron #Lakers
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When looking at all 2 man lineups that have played at least 300 minutes together and their net ratings, LeBron and Caruso are tied for first in the whole league with Giannis and Bledsoe at 20.8. At first glance stats wise, he looks like well an NBA scrub. In 17.8 minutes per game, he’s averaging 5.4 points on 43% from the field and 35.5% from 3 with low assist and rebound numbers. So what am I talking about then. He’s got the second best defensive plus-minus in the whole league, he has the second highest on-off numbers on the Lakers, and before you go well, he’s just a role player, just a meme, he’s played over 1000 minutes this season. He’s actually important to the Lakers, and without Avery Bradley and Rondo, his part in the Lakers is about to get a lot bigger.
Let’s start with the special LeBron and Caruso connection. Caruso is also humble when explaining his high plus-minus. Without Caruso, LeBron shoots 48.5% from the field, 34.1% from 3 with versus 53.5% from the field, 37.5% from 3 with Caruso on the court. That’s a 5% increase from the field and maybe an equally more fascinating part is per 100 possessions, LeBron averaged 10 more points and 2.9 less assists with Caruso. Alex is a role player that actually helps LeBron be more aggressive and score more.
Specifically recognizing how teams play LeBron and operating in that space is where Caruso excels. Even though Caruso is a guard when he’s on the court with Bron, he handles the ball less often than 90% of the guards in the league in the 8th percentile. He’s not ball dominant which allows LeBron to dictate play more. But unlike guards that just shoot when on the court when with LeBron, Caruso is moving in response to what LeBron is doing. This is one of my favorite plays with LeBron and Caruso, it’s not a flashy pass. In reality, it’s just a give and go, but not by design. Caruso draws two people on him, LeBron improvises by passing mid air and Caruso responds to that improvisation with a touch pass immediately to where LeBron is running to. This isn’t the only time Caruso makes a touch pass after a LeBron pass. In fact, that happens a decent amount, especially when LeBron collapses the defense, swings it to Caruso who immediately swings it to the open man.
And right here, LeBron is about to take a very tough shot. Caruso is slowly actually creeping towards the top of the key, just in case LeBron decides to pass it out of nowhere, shortening the distance. And guess what, LeBron does. Caruso makes the three. This understanding between the two, just knowing where to be on the court is just so natural. Caruso positions himself to where it would be easier for LeBron to make a pass to.
Based off a metric called the RAPTOR which takes into account all defensive stats along with on-off numbers, Caruso is 5th in the league defensively only behind Gobert, Dieng, Isaac, and Willie Cayley Stein. A much simpler stat to go by is defensive real plus minus which Caruso has the second best in the league.
And so he puts his body on the line defensively too. He does a solid job at keeping defenders in front of him and bumping them on their way to the rim. He usually goes straight up and although he doesn’t have super long arms, remember he is 6’ 5” meaning he can switch between 1 through 3, and Caruso switches easily within the defensive scheme. He has decent lateral quickness, but once again, Caruso’s basketball instincts give him a leg up. He’s able to recognize plays and anticipate passes. Because of his IQ, he’s able to just have a hand in just the right place like here when he gets the steal on Gobert. With these steals, Caruso gets on the fast break where he does such a great job in making decisions despite not being the fastest.
Perhaps the most intangible part of Caruso is the energy he brings to the team. Anything Caruso does becomes a sort of spark for the Lakers. They all recognize the meme, and they all play along with it. It’s a sort of moral booster, and he randomly has those plays that just gets fired up, especially because it catches you off guard every time. So yeah Caruso has done something that few players are able to do, make LeBron James better, and that is gonna be important in the playoffs. But what do you think? Will Alex Caruso play well in the playoffs? Is LeBruso a real thing?