Coming off a wild finish to the 2018-19 season and finally a full-fledged member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Alex Caruso has his sights set on a breakout year. The 6’5″ point guard may not look the part of a professional basketball player but make no mistake, Caruso is here to stay in the NBA. With excellent athleticism, an improving deep ball, and a high IQ on both ends of the floor, Caruso has the tools to be an ideal fit next to superstars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Alex Caruso’s Extremely Unlikely Path to the Lakers’ Roster
While Caruso was a highly ranked recruit coming out of high school (he was ranked 100th in the ESPN top 100 for the class of 2012), he didn’t jump off the page to scouts during his four years at Texas A&M. More content to play in his role as opposed to stuffing the stat sheet and improving his draft stock, Caruso was forced to settle for starting off his career in the G-League with the Thunder’s affiliate.
After a strong showing with the Blue, Caruso caught the eye of the Lakers and showed out in the 2017 Summer League – earning himself a two-way deal with the Lakers. Caruso steadily improved with the South Bay squad over the next two seasons while showing flashes of his potential in his limited NBA stints.
Finally, with most of the team ravaged by injury, Caruso was called on to play extended minutes after the All-Star break last season. He didn’t disappoint and put together a strong March before setting the basketball world on fire in the month of April.
“Especially from where I come from, the path to get there.” Caruso told Bleacher Report, “It hit me in little waves, little shocks here and there, where I’d be talking to my mom or dad or sisters or my buddies back home, and like, having to type out, ‘Yeah, I signed a two-year, 5.5 with the Lakers.’ To actually say that out loud is a pretty cool feeling.”
It would be safe to say that Caruso has more than earned his guaranteed money with the Lakers.
Alex Caruso 2018-19 Stats & New Contract
As mentioned above, Caruso signed a two-year $5.5 million deal with the Lakers to keep him in Los Angeles. Both years of his deal are fully guaranteed and his cap hit is an even $2.75 million in each year of the deal. While Caruso’s deal is relatively inexpensive and team-friendly, he should still be expected to play a sizeable role off the bench with a chance to potentially play his way into the starting role over the course of the season.
While Caruso’s development in the G-League has long been something the Lakers have closely followed, his stellar numbers to end the season last year are likely what got him his guaranteed money. Following the All-Star break, Caruso Averaged 11.2 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game. One the calendar turned to April, however, Caruso’s numbers skyrocketed to 17.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game.
On his career, Caruso has averaged 5.9 points, 2.5 assists, and 2.1 rebounds in just over 17 minutes per game.