Alex Caruso-Lakers
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Alex Caruso started by being considered a fan favorite to the Lakers’ fans for reasons outside his basketball talent. However, many started to see his on-court value early.

Frank Vogel spoke about what it’s like to coach the Lakers’ guard, and he compared his defensive instincts to Paul George’s. The 26-year-old guard went on to become a closer for his team this season.

(via Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated):

“When I was watching our pickup games from last season as we built up to training camp, he was just all over the place with his defensive ability,” Vogel recalls. “His defensive instincts and athleticism really reminded me of when I used to coach Paul George. I started talking to my coaching staff like, Am I crazy with what I’m seeing here?

Caruso started last season in the back of Frank Vogel’s rotation, but he gradually became an important part of the team’s core, which won the 2020 NBA championship.

Vogel coached Paul George for seven seasons in Indiana with George being one of the most dominant two-way players of the league during that time.

George made three All-Defensive teams, including the All-Defensive First Team in 2014 with Vogel in Indiana’s bench. Caruso certainly is not All-Defense material, however he certainly is an important part of the Lakers’ success.