As unlike as it might have been, Alex Caruso is quickly becoming a household name for the Los Angeles Lakers. He seems to get better every time he touches the court and even earned a starting spot for the last game of the NBA Finals. When he came into the league, nobody drafted him. He eventually made his way to the Oklahoma City Blue, which is an NBA G League team.
Caruso was able to make the Lakers team in 2017 and has seen his role increase every year. He’s impressed so much that many teams around the league have taken notice. In a Q&A with Ryan Ward of Lakers Daily, Lakers assistant coach Mike Penberthy made a surprising revelation about Caruso:
Every time we wanted to do a trade in the offseason or before the trade deadline, every team wanted Alex Caruso. He’s known throughout the league and respected throughout the league.
I think his basketball I.Q. is really high. His NBA skill set is very high. He’s an above-average athlete and he’s an excellent defender. That’s what makes him so good.
Caruso went from being an undrafted guy that nobody outside of Texas knew about to being a highly sought after NBA player who started a game in the NBA Finals. He’s got to be one of the greatest success stories in the modern NBA.
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Would Lakers Trade Caruso?
It’s no secret that the Lakers would like to add a third star and it will likely take a trade to make that happen. Thanks to his impressive run in the NBA bubble, Caruso should be even more valuable than he was previously. However, it’s not a foregone conclusion that the Lakers would even consider trading him.
He’s clearly an important member of the team, especially on the defensive end. Also, he plays extremely well with LeBron James and the Lakers aren’t going to make any big trades without his blessing. Caruso has become such a strong piece and it would be really hard to trade him. That said, the Lakers could do whatever it takes to add a third star and Caruso is easily one of their most valuable assets.
Penberthy Hypes up Another Young Laker
What’s exciting for the Lakers is they could have a new Caruso waiting in the wings. In the playoffs, fans were introduced to Talen Horton-Tucker, who was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He spent most of the season in the G League but the Lakers promoted him to the team for the NBA bubble. Penberthy is very high on the guard:
Talen is my favorite player coming up. He’s my favorite guy. He’s a guy I’m going to spend a lot of time with this offseason.
If it wasn’t for the players that we had that were veterans, Talen would’ve played a lot more. We had discussions every day about getting Talen in the game more, but we just didn’t have time. We just couldn’t find time for him, but we were trying to.
He’s a fantastic player. He’s going to have a great career.
Horton-Tucker shocked a lot of people when the Lakers gave him some playing time in the second round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets. The team clearly likes him and he could have a very bright future in Los Angeles.