Scrimmage games for the Los Angeles Lakers are officially in the books. Frank Vogel’s title-contending squad put on a show in the three games played ahead of the eight seeding matchups with the team’s playoff rotation starting to come together.
The primary concern for the Lakers has been their backcourt and what to do about the absence of veterans Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. Although they’ll get Rondo back at some point during their playoff run, Los Angeles needed some players to step up and prove their worth, and it appears that Alex Caruso has done just that.
“Alex is a vital piece to our championship aspirations,” Vogel said. “That’s the simplest way to put it. He’s so well-rounded and excels at so many different areas that he’s kind of a jack of all trades.
“He’s really served to be invaluable in what we’re trying to get accomplished…He can run the point and obviously look to make plays…He’s just someone that I trust with the basketball.”
Despite missing the team’s first scrimmage game due to a back contusion suffered in practice and fouling out quickly in the second game making virtually no impact on the floor, Caruso showed a lot of promise in the Lakers’ scrimmage finale on Monday. He finished with 17 points, six assists, five rebounds, and three steals in 24 minutes on the floor against the Washington Wizards.
It seems as though Caruso may be Vogel’s guy in the backcourt moving forward in terms of shouldering the load at the point guard position while the team is shorthanded with Rondo out. He may not have the veteran experience of Rondo or the defensive savvy of Bradley, but he’s shown the coaching staff enough to be confident in the direction they’re heading with an NBA title potentially on the line.