There were a lot of shake-ups in the NBA last season which saw teams significantly improve their overall strength. One of the teams that got buffed was the Chicago Bulls. This was due to the addition of DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso.
The three Bulls immediately made an impact and quickly put the league on notice. Chicago’s offense and defense were solid overall during the first half of the season. Unfortunately, injuries started to get in the way. The Bulls’ hopes of securing one of the top seeds in the East suddenly became questionable.
Caruso reflected on how deadly he and Ball were defensively before all the injuries:
“He’s gotten better every year; he was having another career year last year. Shooting was lights out, the usage was up, assist percentage was up. Defensively, me and him went like top 5-10 guards in the league, on ball defense.”
While many players have always wanted to achieve their NBA dreams, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. The situation can become dire in a season for teams if their players don’t stay healthy.
However, Caruso is enthusiastic about the 2022-2023 season as he believes they can redeem themselves. Despite the possibility of Ball making a return late into the season, Caruso is confident that he’ll be ready.
“Ball is a worker, so he’ll come back ready.”
Former NBA champion’s impact in Chicago
Alex Caruso may not look like it, but he’s an impactful player on the court. Standing at 6-foot-4, Caruso is a threat on defense and in securing rebounds for his team. Last season, when Nikola Vucevic had to sit out, Caruso was the Chicago Bulls’ rebounds leader. Imagine all the big men he outrebounds in the paint.
Aside from grabbing boards, he can also pick the ball handler’s pockets. Caruso averaged 1.7 steals in the last regular season. Also, when it matters the most, the team can count on Caruso to hit important shots.
Not a lot of role players receive the same recognition as Caruso does. Sometimes stats get in the way of seeing what a player can do. Fortunately for Caruso, NBA fans see what he can do on the court regardless of whether it counts as a box score or not.
On out-of-bounds plays, he frequently calls out the sets of the opposition. He tips offensive boards over centers, creating possibilities for second chances. He continues to be a strong defender in all positions, from darty guards to large wings and forwards.
Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan knows how special Alex Caruso is.
“People that are preparing to play against him or to coach against him can really see the value that he brings to a team. … He still impacts the game without scoring. He guards a lot of really good players. He gets rebounds. He gets steals. He gets deflections. He’s in the right spot.”
If Alex Caruso can manage to stay healthy next season, the NBA better keep on the lookout for Chicago.