As one of the two members of the Los Angeles Lakers on a two-way contract that will see him spend time with both the parent team and the South Bay Lakers, there are few players better equipped than Alex Caruso to comment on the similarities and differences between the NBA team and its G-League affiliate.
According to him, there are far more of the former than the latter.
“They want to run the organizations the same. They want to play fast. The playbooks might be just a little different personnel-wise, you run different plays for different guys, but first and foremost they want to play defense and run,” Caruso said during the South Bay Lakers’ media day.
The one major difference? That even though the NBA Lakers are playing at the third-fastest pace in the league, Caruso said the South Bay affiliate wants to play just as “fast, if not faster” than the parent squad.
“If we don’t have to call a play all year, that’d be ideal,” Caruso said.
The G-League in general plays at a far faster pace than the NBA, so Caruso and the team’s goal might not be as bold as it sounds.
The South Bay Lakers already fulfilled it in their first game, with their PACE of 109.67 outpacing the Lakers season average of 105.56.
Whether the South Bay team ultimately fulfills its goal is unknowable, but either way, there are clear benefits for teams who have that type of pace and organizational continuity between their NBA and G League teams. It allows the parent front office to see a facsimile of what players would look like in their system in the G League, and gives players on call-ups less of a learning curve to adjust to the NBA.
The Lakers saw the benefits of this continuity with David Nwaba last season, and if it can help them find the next version of him or simply just help guys like Caruso and Thomas Bryant develop, then both teams will be in a better spot moving forward.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB