The hype is real behind Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso and his head coach is one of his biggest supporters.
Caruso has become a fan-favorite with his strong play off the bench this season as the Lakers have reeled off a 17-2 record, pulling his weight on the defensive end. Caruso leads the Lakers in defensive rating at 96.3, a stat that drew some interesting comments from Lakers coach Frank Vogel.
“Caruso is a star defender,” Vogel told reporters Sunday. “I think he’s elite. When you study him on tape, or just watch him in summer workouts, you see he has pretty good feet and good length. But there are a lot of 6-foot-5 defenders that you think should be great defenders. But Alex is. He has great instincts, and that’s the biggest thing with him.
“It’s not always just about physical ability. It’s about IQ. It’s about activity. Hands. Containment ability. Willingness to take charges. The ability to mix it up and get on the boards and rebound the basketball. He does all those things at a very high level.”
Caruso approaches around 20 minutes per night off the bench and is averaging 4.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals.
LeBron James: Anthony Davis is the DPOY
Defense is a theme with the Lakers. While Vogel is driving the Caruso caravan, LeBron James is revving up the Defensive Player of the Year campaign for fellow Lakers star Anthony Davis.
Davis has provided a huge boost on the defensive end in his first year with the Lakers, leading the league with 2.8 blocks per game to go with 1.5 steals. On top of that, he’s adding 26.1 points and 9.2 rebounds.
James responded to a tweet from the Lakers official Twitter account teasing a podcast that outlines why Davis is the Defensive Player of the Year so far.
“No one lie told here!,” James wrote in his replay. “Simply a animal on that end of the floor! Oh and guess he’s not so bad on the other end too! Ha! #ADDPOY.”
Danny Green Compares Luka Doncic to Lou Williams
The Lakers will look to extend their win streak to 11 games on Sunday when they welcome the Mavericks an Luka Doncic to Staples Center on Sunday.
Doncic is making a case for MVP with his strong play so far this season. He is coming off a career-high 42 points in a 120-113 victory over the Suns, bouncing back after a 4-for-14 shooting night in a loss to the Clippers.
Lakers veteran Danny Green said that Doncic reminds him of another explosive scorer in Clippers guard Lou Williams.
“I compare him to a bigger Lou Will, where he gets to that left hand, and he gets that step back or fadeway, and you can’t really touch him,” Green said.
“I think we’re tested every night,” Davis said. “We’re going to get everybody’s best shot no matter what, because of who we are. But it’s up to us to make sure we lock in.”