We are at the height of the dog days of summer around the NBA. But Chicago Bulls backup guard Alex Caruso is already in mid-season form. Caruso’s competitive spirit stands out on the basketball court.
At a time when his teammates and many prominent NBA faces have taken to the pro-am circuit this summer, Caruso is keeping sharp in other ways.
Heavy’s Jonathan Adams caught up with the former Los Angeles Lakers fan-favorite at the American Century Championship in July.
And he had a court named after him in his hometown in Texas to begin August.
With little in the way of real NBA happenings, it has spilled over into the social media world where the Bulls’ “Giannis Stopper” issued a challenge to Miami Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson.
Caruso Wants Match vs Robinson
Robinson is a somewhat polarizing figure. He is known for being a marksman from long range after shooting over 40% from three-point range in back-to-back seasons in 2020 and 2021. But the former undrafted free agent says there is no disputing one thing about him.
He is the King of the ping pong table.
“I’m the best NBA ping pong player and it’s not even f****** close,” proclaimed Robinson on his “The Longshot” podcast” on August 11, “It’s not even close I know I’m the best ping pong player.”
Caruso, who also went undrafted coming out of college, got ahold of this footage and shared his reaction on Instagram – a request to the self-proclaimed best there is.
For the unaware, ping-pong happens to be Caruso’s favorite offseason activity.
Given how ferociously he competes on the basketball court, there is a good chance he brings that same fire to the ping pong table. And with a player so important to what they want to do on the floor, Bulls management will likely appreciate the low-injury risk of this particular challenge.
Bulls Need a Healthy Caruso
The Bulls are a team that is top-heavy with scorers and light on two-way players. That makes what Caruso brings to the floor even more pivotal and his competitiveness even more of an asset to him.
He could be seen guarding Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo when the two teams met in the playoffs last year.
That series did not go well for the Bulls. But Caruso’s versatility, especially on defense as a 6-foot-5 guard, should not go overlooked.
You can find Caruso behind Andrew Wiggins on the upper right-hand side of the graphic below.
Caruso led all Bulls to log over 1000 non-garbage minutes with a plus-8.2 net rating, per Cleaning The Glass. That beat out DeMar DeRozan who was an All-NBA selection and early MVP candidate, as well as Ball and Javonte Green. Those were the only other Bulls to meet that criterion and still post a positive differential.
The 28-year-old Caruso did receive votes for the 2022 NBA All-Defensive team. But he appeared in just 41 games during the regular season.
He has said that he is working on his lower body this summer to better withstand his physicality.
Along with Lonzo Ball – whose own health has been a source of drama since January – Caruso’s presence is key to the Bulls being able to play their style of defense. A style that protects aging center Nikola Vucevic who also appears in a surprising spot on the graphic above.
Robinson’s guest Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks pushed back and suggested their mutual former teammate Meyers Leonard might have something to say about the former’s claim to ping-pong supremacy.
The host was having none of it saying that he had already beaten Leonard in training camp.
Keep an eye out, though. Caruso may get his chance to show and prove that his fiery competitiveness can get it done in any arena.
But especially on the ping pong table.