No one saw Alex Caruso coming. After going undrafted in 2016, Caruso spent the year bouncing around, staying ready for his shot. After playing well for the Lakers in the 2017 Summer league, Caruso got his chance and grabbed it - playing great while Lonzo was sidelined with an injury, he became the first player to sign a two-way in Lakers history. AC didn't just get a chance to play in the NBA. He got to learn from one of the best players ever.
Caruso wants to bring to Chicago what he learned in L.A.
With tonight's win against the Mavs, the Bulls are tied for first place in the East with an 8-3 record. The renewed excitement on the floor is evident, and it's got a lot to do with the new additions - DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, and Lonzo Ball. AC is the only one with championship experience among the three, and he hopes to bring that to the Bulls locker room. He is also eager to teach his teammates what he learned playing with LeBron James.
On JJ Redick's The Old Man & the Three podcast, Caruso revealed that he learned the difference between thinking and knowing from LeBron.
“Like the difference between thinking and knowing. You know, like yes like if you if you have to think about what's going on, you're going to be a half second slow because you have to process it now. Credit that to Rondo and LeBron man. We talked about I think last podcast like they're just so smart.”
Alex Caruso, ">The Old Man and The Three
Rajon Rondo and James are considered as two most cerebral players in the Association. They know what happens next even before the opposing teams execute their plays. The laser-like focus to stay in the moment and focus on what happens next takes years to master. The split-second decision-making enables them to anticipate the opponent's move, counter it and make plays for their team.
LeBron tallied 2,077 steals and 9,738 assists in his career by knowing the players' spots on the floor and determining where a play is going. The mental edge that makes him a special player is what Caruso hopes to have someday.
Alex Caruso already making an impact in Chicago
We all know Caruso can dunk, but his signature skill is his defense. After a handful of games for the Bulls, it seems like AC is already applying what he learned from James this season. The shooting guard is among the league leaders in steals with 2.3 per game, which is also the highest in his career.
Anticipating players' tendencies and putting himself in a position to get close but not fouling is a sign of a thinking defender. There are many scorers on the Bulls, such as DeRozan, LaVine, and Nik Vucevic, so Caruso needs to provide the energy and hustle on the other side of the floor as his main contribution to the Bulls' success.
James has set the standard high for his teammates, and he continues to influence them even after they got traded. It would be interesting to see an L.A. Lakers and Bulls finals: how would Caruso apply what he learned from the man who taught him the difference between thinking and knowing.