Alex Caruso Received Some Love on the Defensive Player of the Year Ballot
Alex Caruso was SO CLOSE!!!
Fine, the Chicago Bulls’ defensive anchor may not have actually been in consideration for Defensive Player of the Year, but he did make at least two ballots. The voting results show that Caruso earned two third-place votes for DPOY, placing him ahead of Jimmy Butler as the second-to-last player to receive recognition.
Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. took home the official award.
Look, I know we’re just talking about a couple of third-place votes, but I am very happy to see Caruso get some love. This is an extremely impressive list of 12 defenders, and Caruso undoubtedly belongs on that list.
Honestly, I’d go as far as to say Caruso is worthy of even more votes. He was the primary reason why the Chicago Bulls finished with the 5th-best defense in the NBA. Dunks & Threes gave him a +4.1 estimated defensive plus-minus on the season, which sits comfortably at the top of the league. He was one of only four players to finish with at least 98 steals and 46 blocks on the year (OG Anunoby, Anthony Edwards, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander). Caruso also finished 6th in total deflections and top-15 in total charges.
Overall, the Bulls’ defense allowed -6.9 points per 100 possessions when Caruso was on the floor, which ranked in the NBA’s 94th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass. They also saw their TOV% rise by +3.4 percent, which sat in the 97th percentile.
The question now is whether or not Caruso has done enough to earn himself his first-ever All-Defensive Team nod. I want to believe that he will make the cut after another remarkable season as one of the league’s premiere point-of-attack defenders, but (as we’ve discussed) it’s always an uphill battle for guys on losing teams.
Anyway, you can check out the full voting results here.