The Los Angeles Lakers were hit with a bad blow when Avery Bradley revealed to them that he’d not be participating in the NBA return. While they’ve added JR Smith to hopefully lessen the impact, it won’t fully fill the void left by Bradley. In fact, Smith is probably not going to be the starter. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will likely get the call, at least at first.
That seems to be the logical outcome, but Frank Vogel could get creative and try Alex Caruso at the starting spot. Caruso had a chance to address Bradley’s decision and talk about his potential prospects.
“Obviously, I understand Avery’s decision,” Caruso told the media on Wednesday, per Ryan Ward of Clutch Points. “We’re brothers in arms throughout the whole season and anything to support him and his family, I’m 100 percent going to do. If I had the same scenario, I’d probably make the same decision.
“As far as basketball goes, got to fill his role. Might not be one person, but this team has done a great job all year when guys have been out. Stepping up and filling a role … I’m not sure if I’m going to be the sole provider of everything that Avery did. That’s a lot to ask for because of how good he is at what he does, but I’m definitely going to be ready to fill part of that gap and that need.”
Caruso has played very well when on the court with LeBron James. If Caldwell-Pope isn’t working out, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Caruso got a shot to start.
Caruso Looking Forward to NBA Return
While not every player in the NBA has expressed excitement about the league resuming, Caruso is ready to get back on the court and think he’ll thrive.
“For me, I’m looking forward to it, just because I think I thrive in situations like that where you gotta get gritty and you kind of have to tough it out, you know, stuff that’s not status quo and it’s not normal,” Caruso said on ESPN’s Sportscenter.
The Lakers are among the top contenders for the NBA title, so it makes sense why players on the team are excited about a return. For Caruso, he could have a bigger role than he previously thought.
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Caruso Praises LeBron James & Jared Dudley
After spending several years as a very young team, the Lakers invested a lot into veterans for this current season. LeBron James is the unquestioned leader and best player, but players like Jared Dudley have helped make a difference in the locker room. Caruso was asked about the team’s group chat during the lockdown and he singled out those two veterans.
“I would say Dudley and LeBron have been the two most vocal,” Caruso said. “Those are two guys that have been in the league for many, many years. … They have done a great job of keeping everyone connected.”
If the Lakers do everything right, they could be winning another championship at the end of the year. James doesn’t have many seasons of dominance left so it makes sense why he’s been working hard to keep his team focused. Time will tell if it pays off for him.