Lakers: How Alex Caruso fits into the Lakers’ plans

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 02: Alex Caruso /

Let’s take a look at how shooting guard, Alex Caruso’s, presence in the organization will impact the Los Angeles Lakers this season.

The NBA introduced a new type of contract that teams can use to sign players for the 2017-2018 season called the two-way contract. This allows for a player to spend a maximum of 45 days with a club’s NBA team and must spend the rest of the season in the NBA’s minor league system, the G-League. The Lakers signed Alex Caruso to such contract.

The 45 days of professional play are not guaranteed and do not have to occur consecutively. This means that Alex Caruso will spend a majority of this season playing for the rebranded South Bay Lakers, but could still play a limited role at point guard for Los Angeles.

Caruso began his professional career last season in the Oklahoma City Thunder organization, where he played 56 games for their G-League team. He averaged 11.8 points and 5.3 assists on 48% shooting, earning him a spot on the Lakers Summer League roster this past June.

The Texas A&M product shined as a backup for second overall pick Lonzo Ball, and stepped up when Ball was sidelined with an injury. Caruso averaged 7.4 points and 3.9 assists while starting the Summer League Championship game where the Lakers clinched the title.

This season, Laker fans expect the point guard position to be occupied by Lonzo Ball a majority of the time, with Tyler Ennis returning as the backup. However, with Ball’s absence in the preseason due to a sprained ankle, Caruso has shown his potential value to Luke Walton and the rest of the coaching staff.

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If Ball has to miss any time to start the season, Caruso could be called upon to begin exhausting the 45 days he can spend with the Lakers. The team lacks a true point guard option outside of Ball and Ennis, and Caruso’s savvy passes and accurate shooting make him a candidate to be the next man up.

Although the Summer League and preseason games are just a small sample size for Caruso, it’s important to note that Caruso has already spent a full season playing professional basketball, so the grind of a long season should not phase the young point guard.

In addition, Caruso stands at 6’6″ and loves to play fast, which is exactly the type of point guard the Luke Walton wants running his offense. His willingness to crash the boards and then look up the floor will allow the Lakers to continue to play their desired style even when their key players are on the bench.

Even though Caruso can only spend 45 days with the NBA team, having an unselfish player running the point for the South Bay Lakers will allow for the Lakers other young players to develop and learn to play the way that Luke Walton wants when it is their time for promotion.

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Caruso may never blossom into a superstar point guard in the league, but the Lakers look like they have found a solid role player for their organization. The two-way contract gives the Lakers flexibility in personnel and could make a formerly unknown player a household name.