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Alex Caruso deserves some hardware at halfway through for the Bulls

The Bulls are clearly a better team with Alex Caruso in the ranks. | Nam Y. Huh / AP

The Bulls are now past halfway through the regular season, and when one breaks down the individual importance each player has had, the line starts in many ways behind Caruso.

It’s more than a small sample size or just coincidence.

Life in defense for the Bulls is much harder without Alex Caruso active and playing.

The eye test has shown that, and the numbers have proved it.

Big picture?

The Bulls are 18-8 in the games that Caruso has played and 9-7 in the games he has missed. In the last 13 matches where Caruso was out of the game, the defense has placed 24th Overall.

Then there is what he means by the scoreboard. The Bulls hold the resistance at 105.7 points per. match with Caruso, and allows 113.7 points per. fight when he is in street clothes.

So basically they would be in eighth place in the league in allowed points with Caruso and a draw in 28th without him. They came in on Tuesday at 17th total, allowing 109 points per. match.

Some questions about who the team’s defender of the year has been at halfway?

There is a strong argument to be made that not only Caruso has been the best defender on this list, but also the leading candidate for the Bulls Sixth-Man Award.

He has started nine games – the Bulls are 7-2 in his starts – but his main role is to get off the bench and finish the games.

That’s why there’s a growing excitement for his likely return on Wednesday, even under the cloud of minute restrictions after being out of the game for almost a month.

Coach Billy Donovan knows what value Caruso brings, not only on the field, but also for the team’s squabble. All-Stars like Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan seem to be playing with more freedom, knowing they have a guy who embraces doing all the dirty work next to him.

Heck, when he picked the team’s MVP with the season halfway finished, Caruso would not win it, but he has certainly earned some votes.

Not the only Bulls player to do so.

Team MVP: DeRozan – LaVine wanted to finish in second place after his veteran teammate, and really could not show much of a debate.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo has stolen DeRozan’s crown as “King of the Fourth” in the last week, and he has not only scored more in the last stanza – 8.4 points per game. fourth to DeRozans 7.7 – but has done so at a higher cut and shot 55.7% in the fourth to DeRozans 53.2%.

LaVine was ninth in the total number of points in the last quarter, which is not too shabby to agree to shoot 50.7% from the field.

Overall, there is no major state that LaVine has boasted over DeRozan in, other than three-point percentage and free-throw percentage.

Then there are the qualities that DeRozan has brought to the locker room, making it a culture where players worry about victories over their own individual success.

Surprise player of the year: Ayo Dosunmu – Being a standout in Illinois was expected to be very different from bringing instant energy to a conference-leading NBA team, but that’s exactly what Dosunmu has done.

There are more than a handful of rookies who have much better stats than Dosunmu, but he has proven to be a great player for a very good team.

Not bad for a second-round pick.

This year’s victory: Beat Brooklyn 111-107 on December 4 – Of course, the Nets did not have Kyrie Irving, but for three quarters of an hour it looked like it would do nothing. Then DeRozan and LaVine happened in the fourth, to go along with some important defensive stops.

The Bulls had opened their eyes in Chicago before that comeback victory, but it was an achievement that seemed to announce their arrival nationally.

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