CHICAGO — One of the most consistent things for the Bulls this past season was the steady defense of one of their guards in both a reserve and starter’s role.
Alex Caruso was so effective in that aspect of the game that the NBA has placed him on one of their end of season teams.
The guard made the NBA’s All-Defensive first team, the league announced on Tuesday afternoon. It’s the first postseason honor of any kind for Caruso, who is in his second year with the Bulls and sixth in the NBA.
Caruso received 50 votes for the first team and 25 for the second, with his 125 total points being enough to get him in the top five. He joined the Bucks’ Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez, Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr., and Cavaliers’ Evan Mobley on the first team.
He becomes the first member of the Bulls in eight years to make the NBA’s All-Defensive first team, with Joakim Noah being the last in the 2013-2014 campaign. That season, the forward was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Michael Jordan is the Bulls’ all-time leader in selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team with nine.
Caruso played in 67 games for the Bulls this season with 36 starts and was a reliable defender for head coach Billy Donovan. He averaged 2.3 defensive rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 3.4 deflections per game both as a starter and a reserve. Per the Bulls PR, he ranked first in steals per 100 possessions (3) and deflections per 36 minutes (5.2).
This season, the Bulls finished 40-42 but got the tenth seed for the NBA’s play-in tournament. They defeated the Raptors in an elimination game in Toronto on April 12 before losing to the Heat in Miami in a contest for the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed on April 14.