• Alex Caruso says conditioning has been a challenge for the Lakers in their preparation for the NBA restart
  • Caruso is expected to play heavier minutes in Orlando after Avery Bradley decided to sit out the rest of the season
  • Frank Vogel expects Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to step up for the Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are finally back in their practice facility as they brace for the restart of the NBA season in Orlando. But besides being hampered by the commitment uncertainties from players going in the bubble, Lakers guard Alex Caruso has admitted that the team has more challenges to defy before reaching the desired form to stand against the rest of the league competition.

The Lakers are aware that a rough road is ahead of their path going to the championship with the rest of the invited teams looking to put up a worthy fight for their respective playoff push.

But for Caruso, the hardest challenge they have to withstand first is within themselves. After a long hiatus, the undrafted guard out of Texas A&M revealed the Lakers have struggled to shake off the rust, admitting that it will take serious attention to conditioning before they get back to their old lethal shape.

“The hardest part for us is getting back to doing physically what we were able to do, as far as being early on assignments, being physically ready to box out, to play as physically as it takes to beat teams like the Clippers, Bucks, Rockets and Nuggets, all the good teams that are competing for championships and are going to be in the playoffs,” Caruso explained in a Zoom call with reporters earlier on Wednesday, via

“Just getting back to that physical form of being able to do it a night in, take a day off, night out, keep going and going and going for a month and a half. The mental part I feel like for our team is going to be easier just because we have such a heady and basketball-smart team, basketball-IQ led team and coaching staff.”

Caruso is expected to play heavier minutes in their return after erstwhile starting guard Avery Bradley decided to sit out the rest of the season. Frank Vogel has even said that his team will employ the next-man-up mentality before tagging Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as the players he expects to fill the void left the defensive guard.

Prior to the break, Caruso had logged in 17.8 minutes per game for the purple and gold while putting up 5.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. Given the green light to showcase his repertoire, the numbers he has posted are projected to take a huge leap while turning himself from a mere fan favorite into a legitimate weapon for the Lakers.

Alex Caruso celebrates after hitting three-point shot CBS Sports