Redrafting the 2016 NBA Draft

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images /
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(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

. G. Orlando Magic. Alex Caruso. 11. player. 38

Alex Caruso has developed into a special defensive talent. Before his injury last season, Caruso looked capable of anchoring the Bulls’ defense next to Lonzo Ball on the perimeter — a real credit to his prowess when one considers the slew of negative defenders peppering that roster. Caruso’s defensive activity is off the charts. That alone propels him fairly high in this re-draft.

He’s one of the best sixth men in the NBA right now. Very few players can swing the momentum of a game off the pine like Caruso. He might not get any hardware (Sixth Man of the Year is too often reserved for high scorers and flashy athletes), but I’m not sure there’s a bench player more central to his team’s success.

Caruso provides contributions across the board on defense. He can put the clamps on at the point of attack (always fun to watch), or he can play free safety and turn driving lanes into toll booths. He picks plenty of pockets, and in turn generates transition offense. Caruso runs the floor well and has no trouble getting up above the rim for the occasional highlight dunk.

He’s less revered for his offense, but Caruso is no slouch on that end of the floor. He’s a career 36.6 percent shooter from deep who doesn’t need the ball to influence the game. Caruso is extremely savvy, often reading the chess board multiple moves in advance. He’s quick and decisive with his passes and always moves when stationed off the ball. Caruso plays smart, efficient basketball and makes all the small efforts that can mean the difference between victory and defeat.