Frank Vogel calls Alex Caruso an ‘elite’ defender
The Los Angeles Lakers have the best defense in the West through 19 games, and their head coach thinks that one unsung hero deserves more credit for it.
Speaking with the media on Saturday, Lakers coach Frank Vogel spoke on the defensive impact of guard Alex Caruso.
“I think Alex Caruso is a star defender,” Vogel said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “I think he’s elite. When you study him on tape or you just watch some workouts or whatever, you can see he has got pretty good feet and good length. There’s a lot of 6’5″, 6’6” defenders that you think should be great defenders because they’re long but they’re not good defenders. But Alex is.
“He has great instincts, that’s the biggest thing with him, it’s not always just about physical ability,” Vogel continued. “It’s about IQ, it’s about reactivity, hands, containment ability, willingness to take charges, ability to mix it up and get on the boards and rebound a basketball. He does all of those things at a very high level, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what he’s been able to do on the defensive end … He’s just exceeded my expectations in that regard.”
Caruso, 25, is only averaging 4.7 points and 2.1 assists a game this season, but he has one of the best plus-minuses on the team, largely due to his defensive impact and ability to contribute in ways that don’t appear in the box score.
The third-year guard is already perhaps the most beloved Laker, and his knack for doing the dirty work will only endear him to the fanbase further.