Bulls: 3 reasons Alex Caruso should start if Lonzo isn’t ready for opener

Alex Caruso, Lonzo Ball, Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Alex Caruso, Lonzo Ball, Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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Now that Zach LaVine has re-signed on a max contract extension, the next biggest order of business for the Chicago Bulls was always to ensure that Lonzo Ball can get himself all patched up for next season. After how well the team played with Ball in the lineup last year, it’s not difficult to see why it would be such a priority for the Bulls. However, if his knee isn’t stable by the beginning of the 2022-23 season, Alex Caruso may have to step up as the starting point guard.

Given the fact we’ve received virtually nothing in the way of updates all summer and the only video we have of Lonzo is him shooting a simple free throw, I’m going to err on the side of caution until we have more concrete proof that he’s ready to go.

In the event Lonzo isn’t ready to play coming out of the gate, the Bulls will need to have a plan in place in order to survive a daunting opening stretch of games. Although Chicago started off last season on a hot streak, they are at serious risk of immediately sinking down the standings if their contingency plan isn’t up to snuff.

For that reason, I believe Caruso just might be the man best suited for the job.

Alex Caruso has a compelling case to be named the Chicago Bulls’ starting point guard if Lonzo Ball isn’t ready to return in time for the season opener.

3. Alex Caruso is a highlight reel playmaker

When you have two ball-dominant offensive powerhouses in your starting lineup, sometimes you don’t need your point guard to do it all with the ball in their hands. As we saw during the ’90s Bulls dynasty with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the team massively benefitted by having unselfish point guards who knew their role and filled it very well like B.J. Armstrong, Steve Kerr, and Ron Harper.

I believe Caruso can fill that same role with the Bulls alongside LaVine and DeRozan. Despite having the third-lowest usage of any Bulls player to log 1000 minutes last season — ahead of only Javonte Green and Troy Brown Jr. — Caruso had the fourth-highest assist percentage. DeRozan and LaVine of course find themselves at the top with their ridiculously high usage, but what I find most interesting is how Caruso stacks up with Ball.

Lonzo achieved an assist percentage of 20% with a usage of 17.4%. Caruso, on the other hand, posted an assist percentage of 18.5% with ridiculously low usage of 13.3%. If Caruso were to get the starting nod, we have no reason to doubt that he’ll be able to create even more good looks for his teammates with the ball in his hands more often.