Alex Caruso was barely noticed on the Lakers‘ 2017 Summer League team that featured Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, but he’s making a name for himself now, writes LZ Granderson of The Los Angeles Times. Caruso earned a two-way contract from that opportunity, but spent most of the past two seasons in the G League. He has turned into an NBA fixture and a fan favorite this season, averaging 20 minutes per night through the first 14 games.
“When I got called up I thought I had made it,” he said about his NBA debut in 2017. “I loved everything about being in the NBA and wanted to stay, but it didn’t work out that way. It was frustrating but I tried to stay focused on the things I could control. … There’s a reason I went back to the G League and I ended up growing and improving myself mentally and physically. When I got my chance to play more minutes at the end of last season, I was able to show how much I grew. … It all worked out.”
There’s more from Los Angeles:
- Rajon Rondo doesn’t believe he deserved a Flagrant 2 and an ejection last night against the Thunder, relays Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Rondo was fined $35K for “unsportsmanlike physical contact” with Dennis Schroder, along with verbal abuse of an official and failing to leaving the court in a timely manner. McMenamin observes that Rondo appeared to knee Schroder in the groin, but the fiery guard insists he was ejected because of his reputation. “You know, you’re a four-, five-time felon, the judgment is kind of harsher when you’ve had a history prior,” Rondo said.
- Also fined today was Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, who was assessed a $5K penalty for a second violation of the league’s anti-flopping rules, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Beverley reacted to the news with a tweet of his own, featuring several emojis and the message, “what NAW MAN.”
- After adding two All-Stars this summer, the Clippers have kept Lou Williams as their late-game closer, notes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Coach Doc Rivers recalls that Williams wasn’t excited about joining the team when he was traded there two years ago. “He came in the day before camp and the rest of the team had been there for 30 days,” Rivers said. “In his defense, he’d been traded, what, four years straight at that point and probably didn’t believe that we had any interest in keeping him around. So I just thought we needed to have a good talk, and I thought we both needed to prove something to each other. It was a two-way thing … we just talked and said, ‘You prove it, I prove it,’ and if we can get to a trust point, then we can get to a great spot.”