With their second first-round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft after selecting Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Sergey Karasev out of Russia. Karasev has played in Russia since 2013, but the soon-to-be 20-year-old will finally take his talents to the Association this season.
The Cavs are getting their one of their best looks at Karasev since the draft at Eurobasket 2013 playing with Russia along with Alexey Shved of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Karasev didn’t travel to the Las Vegas Summer League this year as he was playing with Russia in the World University Games, so Eurobasket is a good opportunity to see where he’s at as a player.
On Wednesday in Russia’s first game of the tournament, Karasev really didn’t see the floor often at all. The 19-year-old played 17 minutes and struggled to find a rhythm when he was on the floor as he put up just three points, four rebounds and one steal while shooting just 1-6 from the floor. He was certainly uninspiring in his first effort.
In Russia’s second game on Thursday, Karasev saw the floor more often and was a bit more effective. While seeing the floor for 29 minutes he put up 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks on 4-8 shooting, but also made some questionable decisions in his time on the floor.
Probably the most notable and concerning thing for the Cavs about Karasev thus far is his ineffectiveness from long-range. Through the first two games, Karasev is just 1-6 from beyond-the-arc, an area of his games that Cleveland is expecting him to be sound.
Obviously it’s sometimes hard for players to get into a rhythm in international competition and there are times when shooters just go a bit cold. Those things happen. Karasev is a talented young player that should have a nice future in this league. Until he has a sustained period of ineffectiveness, it’s probably too soon to be worried if you’re the Cavs.