Arturas Karnisovas and the Chicago Bulls made a number of moves throughout the offseason, including the signing of former Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso.
A member of the 2020 title team, he brings a defensive prowess and championship experience to the Windy City.
Caruso signed a four-year, $37-million contract with the Bulls in July, after four seasons in Los Angeles.
And it’s his former Lakers teammate, four-time MVP LeBron James, that he credited for his Chicago contract.
But these days, Caruso’s been subjected to “MVP!” chants of his own, from the home crowd of the United Center:
The fifth-year guard, who’s gone from undrafted to an NBA champion, is hoping to take his career to the next level, now a member of the Bulls.
Just three games into the season, Alex Caruso looks primed to do just that.
He’s averaging 8.0 points, 3.3 assists, 3.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game.
And the Chicago Bulls have the makings of a contender, albeit early on into the inaugural campaign of this new era.
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Caruso: ‘Defense Is All Care’
Head coach Billy Donovan’s new-look Chicago Bulls defense can be credited to both Alex Caruso, and fellow newcomer guard Lonzo Ball.
It was the former who talked to the media (via 670 The Score) about the team’s renewed efforts on that end following their latest win over the Detroit Pistons:
Defense is all care. t’s just care factor – care factor, effort and execution. And our effort and our care factor, I think, is high. I think it just comes down to the execution part, which we’re going to grow, we’re going to get better. It’s game three. But we have all the tools and players and the desire to do it. It’s just about going out there and doing it on the court.
Across their first three games, the Bulls have held opponents to 94 points per game, and are boasting the fourth-best Defensive Rating (93.7) across the NBA.
For reference, those numbers sat at 111.6 and 111.5 last season respectively.
Head coach Billy Donovan praised his team’s efforts after their win over Detroit:
You can’t really consider yourself a really good team if you don’t defend. Clearly if you go back and look statistically at teams that have gone from the first round to the second round, from the second round to the like conference finals, every single one of those teams is in the top 10 defensively.
With the duo of Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball spearheading this defensive movement, the Chicago Bulls are in good hands.
And maybe, they’re a playoff threat, too.
Chicago Bulls Are 3-0
Following their 97-82 win over the Detroit Pistons, the Chicago Bulls are 3-0, and atop the Eastern Conference.
And on top of that, they’re the only team in the NBA with three wins and zero losses.
Regardless, head coach Billy Donovan isn’t satisfied. Primarily, due to the room to grow that remains on offense.
Donovan dismissed any concerns over that area after their win against Detroit:
So two out of three games, we haven’t scored past 100. And I would’ve expected this coming into this year. And people wouldn’t have. I expect this offensively, because we have got to find a rhythm and some of it is a little bit different. But because of these guys’ ability and their intelligence, these experiences will help them get better.
Through three games, Chicago ranks 21st in points (106.3) per game and 25th in three-pointers (10.7) made nightly.
But given that it’s their first 3-0 start since the 2016-2017 season, nothing can be taken for granted.
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