Alex Caruso

Bulls' Alex Caruso wins NBA's Hustle Award

Gritty guard led league in deflections per game

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Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Death, taxes and Alex Caruso diving onto hardwood.

Few things are guaranteed in life, but the Chicago Bulls' defensive lynchpin sacrificing his body to help his team is one of them.

And Caruso received an honor for his efforts on Thursday when the NBA named him the winner of the league's Hustle Award for the 2023-24 season.

Caruso, a first-team All-Defense member last season, becomes the second Bull to win the award, joining Thaddeus Young from the 2020-21 season. Caruso snapped Marcus Smart's two-season hold on the award, which began in the 2016-17 season and honors "players who make the effort plays that don't often appear in the traditional box score but impact winning."

That award description fits Caruso's mindset and game perfectly.

Caruso led the NBA in deflections per game at 3.7, finished second in total deflections with 265, ranked seventh in loose balls recovered at 73 and contested 3-point shots at 221 and drew 12 charges. He finished fourth in total steals and was the only player in the NBA with at least 100 steals and 70 blocks.

"He's incredible," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said of Caruso late in the 2023-24 season. "What he does is so unique. There's no one on our team that does what he does and there's probably not that many players in the league that does what he does."

Caruso is expected to be a repeat selection to one of the All-Defense teams. The Bulls have until June 30 to fully guarantee his $9.9 million contact for next season, which will be a formality. Caruso also is extension-eligible this offseason.

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