On Friday night, Bulls guard Alex Caruso—one of the keys to Chicago’s sixth-rated defense, which allows 103.3 points per 100 possessions—will get one of his least favorite NBA assignments. He will be tasked with chasing around Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ star guard and one of the league’s MVP favorites here in the early season.
Caruso appeared this week on the Old Man and the 3 podcast with former NBA star J.J. Redick, and Redick asked him whether Curry was the most difficult player he is typically tasked with defending. Caruso said he is, and added that the job figures to be more difficult this season now that those Warriors who were new last year have gotten accustomed to Curry’s style of play.
And, it helps that the team has brought back guard Andre Iguodala, who played with Curry for six seasons during Golden State’s dynasty era.
Yeah, that dude’s a menace. Especially the way they run their offense, him and Draymond have this telepathy. Like the guys that are back this year, like Damion Lee, Toscano-Anderson, Jordan Poole, (Kevon) Looney, then they brought back Dre (Iguodala), they’re actually understanding how to play with him now, how he operates, how he moves, when he gives up the ball and just continues to run in circles until you fall asleep and even then he shoots it from 30 feet. It’s borderline unguardable.
Caruso on Steph: ‘You Can’t Do Anything About It’
Caruso is off to a sterling start in his first season with the Bulls, averaging 8.5 points and a career-high 3.6 assists off the bench, playing 27.5 minutes per game (also a career high). He is shooting 49.2% from the field and 40.7% from the 3-point line, which makes him a solid offensive threat to go with his notably pesky defense. Caruso is averaging a league-high 2.6 steals per game (another career high).
Curry, of course, knocked down 14-for-28 shooting in his last outing against the Hawks, scoring 50 points. That raised his scoring average to 27.4 points per game, though his efficiency, for much of the season, has been inconsistent—Curry is shooting 43.4% from the field and 38.5% from the 3-point line. He is also averaging 6.5 assists and a career-high of his own in rebounding, at 6.5 per game.
“You watched it yourself, you saw the highlights against the Hawks,” Caruso said. “There was one possession, I don’t know who was guarding him, Steph catches it on the right wing, bottom of the TV screen, he was like shimmy-shimmy. And the guy who was guarding him was shimmying with him in unison, perfect defense. Then Steph just takes one dribble, sidestep, throws it up and it goes in. I am like, you can’t do anything about it.”
Curry Has Not Played Well vs. Caruso’s Teams
One thing Caruso does have going for him is that, in four games he shared a floor with Curry, the Warriors star has not played very well. According to Stathead, Curry’s Warriors won three of four games against Caruso’s old team, the Lakers, but Curry shot just 31.1% from the field and 21.1% from the 3-point line, averaging 15.0 points.
Still, Caruso said, the Warriors are a dangerous bunch, sitting with the best record in the NBA at 10-1. And, as Redick pointed out, they’re still slated to get star guard Klay Thompson back after knee and Achilles tendon surgeries.
“If Klay comes back, he is not gonna be a shell of himself, he is still Klay Thompson,” Caruso said. “He’s going to come back and shoot the sh** out of the ball and guard people. And he’s motivated. I mean, come on, what are we talking about? It’s going to be dangerous.”