Okay, so I'm trying my best to fit this within the context of conference finals, and despite it being off course by a few, i think it should still be in this thread.
Game 2 of the WCF, Caruso played a total of 29 minutes, scored 9 points, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds. The box scores for him on this game won't tell the overall picture of exactly how much he affected the game and how he willed for his team to victory. I want to state that I'm not comparing his game to say that of AD or Lebron, but in some ways I think I am.
The game of Bball has changed, the dominate teams in the league are all sniper obsessed specially with the possibility of someday having a 4 point zone in the near future. Be it the warriors, rockets, Mavericks, clippers, nuggets, heat, and so on going further into the long range mindset, the Lakers seem to be an old fashion rough and tumble team who doesn't rely ultimately on their 3 point shot. It seems to me that in the regular season and post season, the lakers have relied mostly on their defensive capabilities. With that said, I introduce to you Alex Caruso. And this is where I think I'm introducing him as a rival to an AD or a Lebron in how he affects the game. When he's on the field, he's getting defensive plays every 50 seconds of his time there. I watched Game 2 and literally there was a stop every other possession involving Caruso where a turn over is the benefit of the lakers. At one point in 4th quarter, he had forced a turn over off ball offensive foul, seconds later another foul, a few seconds later he was on the floor taking a charge and turning the ball over to the lakers. The man has his fingerprints all over the court and throughout game when he's in the rotation. Watch for yourself and try to count all his defensive plays. He's taken on Dame, Cj, Russel, Harden, now he's giving Jokic and Murry a hell of a time. Caruso is playing like he's Steph Curry, except not on the offensive, but defensive side.
Lebron is gone after 3 years possibly with an option to extend his contract and AD is more than likely going to stay after this year. Long winded explanation for a question I have: Can the Lakers build around Caruso's play that they are a chip contender even after Lebron is gone? What do you think? I asked here because mostly VGC is a game site and the ilk of most people here are gamers who don't care about athletics. And I will admit, I have a man crush on him, so take that as you will.