When you think of the current LA Lakers roster, you probably don’t go too far past LeBron James and Anthony Davis. When there’s an all-time great and a generational talent teaming up in the starting five, the rest of the team can seem pretty trivial. Two men, however, cannot win a championship on their own.
While LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the first two names on the team sheet, both stars love playing alongside one particular LA Lakers teammate. That mystery man, however, might not be who you’d think.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis have formed a dynamic duo with the Lakers
In the modern NBA, the top teams have multiple stars on their roster. In Hollywood, the Lakers have two of the best in the form of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
While chemistry doesn’t always come easily—some stars can be hesitant to share the spotlight—James and Davis struck up a pretty effective partnership. Playing with AD gives LeBron a bit more space and a reliable secondary option; for Davis, it gives him a chance to thrive without the pressure of being ‘the guy’ who has to step up night in and night out.
That relationship has already paid off. The LA Lakers dominated the regular season; while there was a brief hiccup in the early days of the bubble, the team found their footing again and marched to the NBA title. If Davis stays in Hollywood, which is seeming more and more likely, it’s safe to assume that he and LeBron James will be chasing a few more championships in the coming years.
Both Anthony Davis and LeBron James want to play with Alex Caruso
During the 2019-20 NBA campaign, LA Lakers guard Alex Caruso grew into something of a cult hero. His popularity, however, wasn’t limited to the fans; both Anthony Davis and LeBron James apparently appreciate the Bald Mamba’s efforts.
“Caruso, LeBron and A.D. always want him in the game because they know he can handle the ball,” Lakers assistant coach Mike Penberthy told Ryan Ward of Lakers Daily. “They know he can shoot the three. They know he’ll guard. They know he won’t make stupid mistakes. They know he likes to push the ball in transition. He fits alongside those two guys’ strengths as well.”
While Caruso’s stat line—he averaged 5.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game this past season—won’t make any headlines, that doesn’t matter to Davis and James. The guard still finds a way to contribute, even if it doesn’t always make it into the box score.
“I think his basketball I.Q. is really high,” Penberthy continued. “His NBA skill set is very high. He’s an above-average athlete and he’s an excellent defender. That’s what makes him so good.”
NBA executives apparently think highly of Alex Caruso, too
Alex Caruso hasn’t only impressed Lakers fans and his teammates, though. The guard is apparently pretty respected within NBA circles, too.
“Every time we wanted to do a trade in the offseason or before the trade deadline, every team wanted Alex Caruso,” Penberthy told Ward. “He’s known throughout the league and respected throughout the league.”
If you only saw the Twitter memes, it would be understandable if you thought Alex Caruso was nothing more than an inside joke. In a league dominated by superstars, though, every team needs a glue guy. Anthony Davis and LeBron James have apparently identified the Bald Mamba as their perfect wingman.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference