Welcome back to The Weekly 4-Point Play, our new weekly column highlighting four of the biggest and most exciting stories in the association. In case you missed it, Volume 2 is here.
We are starting to get into the thick of the NBA season. We are finding out how good (or not good) teams are and storylines are starting to develop. We will take a look at one of the best defensive players in the league as well as take a trip up north to look at a potential future superstar. And don’t let me forget about the Block Party of the Week. Let’s dive into it. Take us away Steph Curry!
Role Player Spotlight: Alex Caruso locks up KD.
Everybody that tuned in to see Bradley Beal’s Suns debut saw something special, I’m of course talking about one of the best defensive players in the league, Alex Caruso.
There’s not many (if any) guards that can give a 7 foot scorer like KD this kind of trouble. He also totally turned the game around for the Bulls who found themselves down 22-4 early in the game. Led by the energy and defensive intensity that Caruso brings, the Bulls were able to get back into the game and force OT before losing a heartbreaker at the end.
This is a common script for the Bulls, fall behind early and have the bench led by Caruso lead a comeback just to come up short in the end.
What is truly unique about Caruso is despite being a guard, he can defend 1-4 effectively and is actually one of the better guys in the league at defending power forwards such as Julius Randle and Kevin Durant. He also came up with a clutch steal that led to his game winning 3 pointer vs Pascal Siakam a couple weeks ago.
It’s weird to describe but Caruso is clutch on the defensive end. He always manages to get a steal, blocks a shot, draw a charge, or just get a big stop down the stretch of a close game. He deserves better than this Bulls team which leads us into our next category.
Trip to the trade machine: let’s get Caruso to a contender
The Lakers aren’t off to an awesome start. They were able to make some moves during last season that helped them turn their season around. Alex Caruso was a key contributor to the Lakers’ 2020 Championship and LeBrons loves him. Caruso would be an awesome fit along with LeBron and AD in the closing lineup. Reaves and Russell have struggled to keep perimeter players in front of them and as I covered above, Caruso is maybe the best player in the league at doing that.
The Bulls get Jalen Hood-Schifino who was a 1st round pick in the last draft. They can see what he looks like as the team shifts into a rebuild mode. They also get a 2030 1st round pick that could be traded in the future or just kept if the Lakers aren’t looking that great in a few years.
Future Star Watch: Scottie Barnes is bouncing back from a sophomore slump
Scottie Barnes was a big disappointment last season but the good news is that he is off to an awesome start to the 3rd season of his career. He is looking like an All-Star candidate. The most promising aspect of Barnes’ season so far is that he is shooting with confidence from deep. He is currently at 38% from 3 which is great for someone with his game. He doesn’t need to be a 40% shooter from deep because he is at his best when he is getting downhill. He has also shown some pretty impressive passing skills which makes him even harder to deal with.
The Block Party of The Week: Is Rudy Gobert Back?
As we all know, the Timberwolves traded their entire draft future for the multiple time DPOY winner and last season it did not work out well for them. It looked like Gobert took a step back. So far this season, it looks like Gobert is all the way back. The Wolves are looking like one of the best defenses in the league and Gobert is one of the biggest reasons why.
The Wolves could become a real threat in the West. Teams like the Suns, Lakers, and Kings aren’t looking too hot to start the season. A team like the Wolves could step in and maybe meet the Nuggets in the conference finals. Anthony Edwards is playing like an All-NBA player and Rudy Gobert is back to playing like a DPOY contender.