As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for the 2017-2018 season to begin next week, head coach Luke Walton and his staff need to make a number of important decisions. One they likely didn’t anticipate having to make was about the backup point guard position.
Tyler Ennis was brought back after his impressive end to last season and it has been assumed that he will be the backup to rookie Lonzo Ball. The play of Alex Caruso, currently on a two-way contract with the Lakers, has turned a lot of heads with many believing that he has outplayed Ennis in preseason thus far.
Despite some impressive play in preseason from Caruso, it appears that Walton plans to stick with the incumbent Ennis as Lonzo Ball’s backup, via Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell:
Walton said Alex Caruso has definitely impressed the coaches, but Tyler Ennis has too, and Ennis remains the backup PG behind Lonzo.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 11, 2017
While Caruso has arguably performed better than Ennis during preseason, the latter does offer more NBA experience, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that Ball already sees him as a mentor.
Ennis was the 18th pick selected in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, but struggled to find a steady role and bounced around the league a bit before winding up with the Lakers at the trade deadline last year. It appeared that his back was against the wall and that Ennis may find himself out of the NBA, but his strong performance down the stretch in Los Angeles was enough to win himself another shot.
Caruso has still impressed, and on a two-way contract, he can bounce between the G-League and NBA, so it’s likely that we will still see him suiting up for the Lakers at some point this season. Now, Walton will have to focus on a number of other decisions, including figuring out the winner of a tough battle at power forward between Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr.