Alex Caruso is a talented defender that you can learn a lot from. His I.Q. on this end of the court is high and he has a lot of knowledge to offer.
Alex Caruso is an elite defender.
Even back in his young, rookie days with the Los Angeles Lakers, he was averaging 0.6 steals a game with just 15 minutes of play-time per game.
However, it wasn’t until he joined the Chicago Bulls in 2021-2022 that he was recognized for his defensive prowess.
The Bulls were the top team in the Eastern Conference after the first 20 games.
A lot of factors played into this, but one of the main reasons why is because of Caruso’s perimeter defense.
He was their go-to defensive guy.
And he never disappointed his team as he averaged 2.3 steals per game during that stretch.
Caruso Snags 6 Steals Against Mavs
There was this one game in early November against the Dallas Mavericks where he was cooking on the defensive end.
Caruso was interrupting passing lanes and picking ball-handlers pockets.
He ended the game with 6 steals and 16 points.
You can watch his handy work below:
How Is Alex Caruso a Good Defender?
So, how is Caruso such a good defensive player?
Caruso has really good defensive I.Q. and physical traits.
He knows how to position himself, understands clock management, knows his team’s defensive rotations, and has the stamina (and heart) to grind it out on D.
He also knows that his strongest suit is defense and defending is his contribution to his team.
By understanding this, Caruso focuses on it and puts effort into it.
How to Defend like Alex Caruso
So, what can you do to become a defender like Caruso?
Well, the first thing you should do is learn how to position yourself on defense.
You have to learn how to stand, which stance to use, and where to place yourself so that you can prevent the ball-handler from getting open.
Practice Defensive Fundamentals
You basically have to learn and master the fundamentals of defense.
One of the best ways to do this is by learning how elite defenders do it:
(If the above video was helpful, you should watch the entire defensive masterclass from Jordan. You can click here to do so.)
Improve Conditioning for Defense
The second thing you have to do is improve your stamina.
By being more conditioned, you’ll be able to last longer as you defend and thus will be able to defend more aggressively.
If you don’t work on your stamina, then your legs will burn out and you’ll fatigue.
As a result, you won’t be able to put 100 percent effort into defending because you’ll tire out.
To develop more stamina, here are 3 exercises you have to do:
- Squats (learn how to do here)
- Lateral Slides (learn how to do here)
- Core Workout (learn how to do here)
These 3 exercises will improve your leg strength and stamina, which will help you stay in front of the ball-handler longer and close out harder.
They will also strengthen your core, which will help you stay balanced as you bump and fight to prevent your opponent from getting past you.
As for understanding the clock and your team, you’ll have to play a lot to learn these aspects of the game.
There’s no drill or exercise that can help you develop an understanding for these.
The only way to build this I.Q. is through getting runtime with your team as often as possible.
Alex Caruso is one of the most knowledgeable defensive players in the NBA right now.
He reads the court well and knows exactly what to do.
On top of that, he can also do what needs to be done to get stops.
So, if you want to become a better defender in basketball, take in his wisdom and do the necessary exercises.