Alex Caruso Wins NBA’s Hustle Award For 2023/24

Bulls guard/forward Alex Caruso has won the Hustle Award for the 2023/24 season, the NBA announced in a press release written by Brian Martin.

According to the league, the award “honors a player who makes impactful effort plays that might not appear in the box score.” The award was created eight years ago, with Grizzlies guard Marcus Smart being a three-time winner.

Some of the hustle statistics that the NBA tracks include deflections, loose balls recovered, charges drawn, screen assists, contested shots and box-outs. Caruso led in the league in deflections per game (3.7) and on a per-minute basis, he ranked first in loose balls recovered and seventh in charges drawn.

Caruso, who was named to the All-Defensive First Team in ’22/23, is one of the NBA’s top defenders and is known for his all-out playing style. He ranked fourth in the league in steals per game (1.7) and averaged a career-high 1.0 block per game this season.

As Martin details, when Caruso was on the court, Chicago had the equivalent of Boston’s 110.6 defensive rating, which ranked second in the NBA. When he wasn’t playing, the Bulls had the equivalent of the league’s 24th-ranked defense.

A former undrafted free agent who made it into the NBA by working his way through the G League, Caruso won a championship with the Lakers in 2020. The 30-year-old had a strong all-around season in ’23/24, averaging 10.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 3.5 APG on .468/.408/.760 shooting in 71 games (28.7 MPG). Several of those figures represented career highs.

Caruso will earn $9.89MM in ’24/25, which is the final season of his contract. He’ll be eligible for a veteran extension this offseason.

The top five finishers for the 2023/24 Hustle Award were, in order: Caruso, Raptors forward Scottie Barnes, Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski, Thunder wing Luguentz Dort, and Hornets forward Grant Williams.

As Howard Beck of The Ringer tweets, the award is determined by aggregating the hustle stats the league tracks, so there is no voting panel.

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