The Cleveland Cavaliers spent their second 2013 first round draft pick, 19th overall, on Russian prospect Sergey Karasev. Karasev is an intriguing prospect who, at the tender age of 19, averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in the Russian League last season, one of the top international leagues. The Cavs have reportedly signed Karasev, meaning he will be making the transition to the NBA this season.
Karasev has the skill set and ability to make an impact immediately at the NBA level. He has already proved he can play with top level competition, having played for a top-level Russian club and for the Russian national team in the Olympics last season.
At 6-foot-7, he already has ideal NBA size for a small forward or shooting guard. Offensively, Karasev is quite accomplished. He can spot up or attack the basket off the dribble. He has a high basketball IQ and plays unselfishly. He already has experience of being a go-to scorer for his club. And at only 19, Karasev still has lots of room to grow.
Karasev does have clear weaknesses, however. He is a below-average defender overall, and will struggle to guard more athletic wing players in the NBA. He is not very athletic, which is a big disadvantage on both ends in today’s NBA. He is left-hand dominant, and needs to improve his right hand. And at 6-foot-7 but less than 200 pounds, Karasev would do well to add a few more pounds of muscle.
So this is what Sergey Karasev will bring to the Cavs this season. Overall, he has the ability to come in and immediately compete with top pick Tony Bennett for the starting small forward spot. Don’t be surprised if Karasev does make some noise this upcoming season.