DeMarcus Cousins Calls Alex Caruso 'The GOAT' During NBA 2K Tournament

Melissa Rohlin

When DeMarcus Cousins was asked about the hype surrounding Alex Caruso during the NBA 2K players tournament, he didn't hesitate in his response. 

“Man, he's the GOAT," said Cousins, who was waived by the Lakers in February after being sidelined the entire season because of torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. 

Caruso, a reserve guard for the Lakers, has gained the respect of  fans and players alike after turning a two-way contract in 2017 into a two year, $5.5 million deal in July. 

The 25-year-old is a spark plug for the Lakers, who often inspires "MVP" chants from sold out crowds at Staples Center. He's so beloved that he finished fourth in the fan vote for the All-Star Game in February among guards in the Western Conference, ahead of Russell Westbrook.

"I think I play the game the right way," Caruso said in February. "I think I do little things that contribute to winning and contribute to the energy of the team and the energy of the game. And I think the fans feed off of that.”

Caruso had a lot of memorable plays this season for the Lakers, who were atop the Western Conference with a record of 49-14 before the NBA suspended the season on March 11 to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the Lakers' 118-109 win over New Orleans on Feb 25, he made a no-look pass in between his legs in the second quarter to LeBron James, who was trailing him on a fast break and finished with a one-handed jam. Then in the fourth quarter, he blocked a shot by Lonzo Ball that sent Ball flat on his back and the crowd into a frenzied prolonged standing ovation as they chanted "MVP, MVP."

Caruso followed that play with a steal against Ball and then a three-point play after making a layup that he was fouled on. Caruso had the highest plus-minus (20) rating of anyone in that game, finishing with eight points, all in the fourth quarter, and eight assists. 

Then there was a putback two-handed dunk over Kyle Anderson on a missed free throw by Anthony Davis in a game against Memphis on Feb. 21. 

"That’s tough to do," Davis said in February. "I haven’t seen too many people do that in this league, especially guards. For him to do that, all vert, is pretty much insane."

Caruso averages 5.4 points on 42.3 percent shooting, 1.8 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 17.8 minutes a game. 

But his impact extends far beyond those stats. 

"He always seems to make the right play, and he always tends to be in the right position at the right time all the time," Davis said in February. "He’s [a] tough, big guard, finishes well and shoots well. He reads the defense well, he can defend anybody, one through three, he gonna lock them up."