NBA

The Carushow Arrives to Bricktown

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With the first trade after the NBA Finals, Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder made it count.

The Thunder have traded Josh Giddey to the Chicago Bulls for two-time All-Defensive guard Alex Caruso. Their biggest deal since the Russell Westbrook trade in 2019.

Caruso brings championship experience, defense and shooting to this Thunder core. A perfect addition to last year’s number-one seed in the West.

A Defense of Dreams

This upcoming Thunder defense is what fans have been dreaming of for years. From the frontcourt to the backcourt, the foundation of the ship is powerful.

The Thunder, who led the NBA in both steals and blocks last season, add another defensive-minded machine. Caruso’s 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks last season will only add to this total.

Now, opposing stars have to beat one of Caruso, Luguentz Dort or Cason Wallace on the perimeter just to face Chet Holmgren at the rim. This is a challenge only few can face.

Like his new defensive-partner-in-crime Lu Dort, Caruso also has a talent in drawing offensive fouls. He has drawn 25+ offensive fouls every year since the 2019-20 season.

Caruso was an elite defender against All-Star guards and forwards last season. They shot 39.8% from the field guarded by him last year.

The Thunder’s fourth-ranked team defense from last year has only gotten better with the addition of Alex Caruso.

Air Caruso

Caruso averaged 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season. He had 47/41/76 splits in the process. Not only is the defense there, he’s a stellar contributor on offense too.

Throughout his time with the Bulls, Caruso gradually became a better three-point shooter. In his three years with the team, his three-point percentage increased by three percent every year.

Caruso is an intelligent passer, great connector and excellent spot-up shooter. He is the perfect fit for this Thunder team on both ends of the floor.

Winning Spirit

Along with his recent success, Caruso was a key contributor to the Los Angeles Lakers’ championship in 2020. He started in the close-out game of the series, becoming a Lakers’ fan favorite in the process.

During the 2020 Lakers run, they were 2.4 points greater with him on the floor. Guarding players like James Harden, Jimmy Butler and Jamal Murray in the process.

Caruso brings the veteran presence of a championship winner. This was exactly what the Thunder lacked this past season.

Familiar Faces and Places

”The Bald Mamba” started his professional career in the Thunder organization, playing for the Oklahoma City Blue of the G League. Current Thunder Head Coach Mark Daigneault coached him at that level.

Caruso in an interview with The Long Shot Podcast in 2021 stated how crucial Daigneault was for his career. Stating they were still good friends.

He also played college ball at nearby Texas A&M. Located in College Station, Texas, it is only a five-hour drive up to Oklahoma City.

The Perfect Fit

Thunder General Manager Sam Presti has reportedly pursued Caruso for years, and for good reason. From pure basketball to the current coach, he is a perfect fit for this Thunder core.

The addition of Alex Caruso will set the Thunder as a premier championship contender.

For what is set to be a crucial offseason for the Thunder rebuild, this trade is the perfect start.

About Cody Burton

Student at West Virginia University

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