Alex Caruso is not only in the arena, but he is the Bulls’ “culture.”

ORLANDO – Billy Donovan cynically pushed the box’s bottom line to the side.

This is usually a good drill for a Bulls coach when discussing what Alex Caruso does.

It’s not there in black and white, and it’s not something novice game watchers will pick up on. There is dirt under Caruso’s fingernails when the last trumpet sounds most nights, even if it can’t be seen.

“He’s one of those classic guys that if you’re watching the game and you really understand the game, then you look at the stat sheet, you’re like, ‘You know what, don’t tell me about the stat sheet.’ ‘This guy affects the game, he affects’,” Donovan said of his guard. On winning.” For me, the stat sheet never tells the story of the players who really influence the outcome of the game with the different things they do. ”

And there is no doubt that Caruso is a different cat, capable of doing those different things to a bull.

Here’s just a glimpse of what it’s like when he’s on the ground this season: The Bulls have a top-five defensive rating of 110.7 when Caruso plays, and when he’s not playing that rating drops to 116.8 — near the bottom of the league.

It’s first in plus/minus at plus-117, and the next closest is Javonte Green at plus-55.

Caruso is second in the league in plus/minus defensive box average with a 3.4, his 164 tackles are second only to Toronto’s OG Anunoby, and he averages 1.7 steals per game.

All of that was felt in the win over the Magic on Saturday, even with box points looking like a very pedestrian seven-point and two steals.

Whether it was a deflection or just a physical tackle on Orlando defenders, possession after possession was snagged by Caruso.

“That’s kind of what I try to do every night,” Caruso said. “Some nights I’m a little better at it than others.”

What does that really mean for Taurus now?

Given their position in the ranking and what the expectations are, that says it all.

That’s why a member of the organization shot down the idea of ​​having Caruso on the trading block as a report recently stated.

In fact, when Bulls took calls on Caruso, the asking price was so astronomical, it repeated a Sun-Times report that Caruso is essentially untouchable.

“It’s the culture,” said one source. Actually, not a bad nickname for Caruso, considering his stunt plays are often plastered throughout the game’s movie.

“High IQ,” Donovan said, “knows what’s going on, what’s going to happen, what’s he’s going to do, where his guy is, is he going, under?” “He reacts really spontaneously and has a good feeling about it. And then like we all talked about, he just throws his body into everything all the time.

What wouldn’t he throw himself into? Fears that it is a commercial piece.

“They also said I was trading in December,” Caruso said of the rumor mill. I lived in Los Angeles for four years [playing for the Lakers]And that’s what happens there. You just play basketball games and be a good teammate until something changes, and if nothing changes, you just keep doing what you’re doing. ”

That’s also why Caruso has no plans to take advantage of EVP of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas’ open-door policy, knowing where he stands as the February 9 trade deadline approaches.

“No, because I came into the league hoping to be on a team, so for me just being part of a team is good enough, wherever it is,” said Caruso. “Obviously I want to keep wearing the red and white, I love my team mates here, the city and I will give everything I can for whatever team I’m in. It’s just kind of my mood.”

And why is it so valuable to Taurus. No matter what the result box reads.

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