As the 2013-2014 NBA Season finally approaches, it’s as good as time as ever to take at look at each player on the Cleveland Cavaliers roster. Up until opening night, the entire RDE staff will breakdown the entire Cavaliers roster. This profile looks at Sergey Karasev.
Tale of the Tape:
Name: Sergey Karasev
School: International (Russia)
Years Experience: Rookie
Years with Cavaliers: First
Weight: 197 lbs
Contract: Rookie contract, earns $1.5 million this season
Karasev was hailed as the best overall shooter in the 2013 NBA Draft. The sharpshooting Russian phenom will be suiting up for Cleveland this season, and now, we take a look at how Karasev should contribute this season.
Karasev has the size and build to successfully operate at either wing spot in the NBA. Karasev’s body also clearly has not filled out yet, and it’s not inconceivable that he’ll continue to become bigger and stronger as he grows in the NBA. He’s not the strongest, quickest, or most athletic player, but he’s not screwed because of this. It’s not like Karasev spends his time on the court attacking the basket or crashing the glass. Karasev’s not the most impressive physical specimen, but he’s young, and won’t be required to make any highly exciting athletic plays. The Cavs have plenty of athletic freaks. We don’t need him to be one.
The son of his coach in the Russian league, you can tell Karasev just understands basketball. His court vision is superb, and he moves incredibly well off the ball, which increases his effectiveness as a shooter. This should also help him on the defensive end, where he currently lacks the understanding of technique to make an impact, but with some work, should be able to easily grasp advanced defensive concepts. Karasev also should come in with a lot of confidence. He’s just 20 years old, and will have already played on a high-level Russian team and in the Olympics, a great experience for the young guy. He also tore it up at the Pan-Am games this summer, which has to increase the confidence. Karasev’s intangibles are a huge advantage to him as he starts to develop into an NBA player.
Karasev’s a shooter. It’s fairly obvious if you’ve seen any film on him. He led the Russian league in scoring last season, hitting 37 percent from deep. He’s better in catch-and-shoot situations, but if needed, Karasev can create a bit off the dribble. He’s left-handed, which will add an interesting wrinkle to his game, and attacks better with his left hand than his right. He won’t attack off the dribble beyond a few steps, and he shouldn’t have to in Cleveland, where a plethora of solid attacking guards reside. He’s an adept passer as well, and that’ll also add a fun wrinkle to his use in the offense in Cleveland. Karasev is incredibly Kyle Korver-like, and should develop into that type of player. If he can hit threes anywhere near that rate this season for Cleveland, that would be huge.
It’s not good, but it has the potential to get there. Karasev completely lacks the understanding of how to defend on the perimeter, something he wasn’t often asked to excel at in Russia. He takes poor angles, his stance is crap, and he’s not that quick, which dooms him if someone drives on him. However, all of this is correctable, and he’s got a great coach to teach him. Also helping Karasev is his hustle, which will help him get by initially. Having watched him on film, I’ve never seen a player so technically terrible give so much effort on defense. It’s not for a lack of trying that Karasev is bad on defense, that’s for certain. He seems like he is the type of player who will buy in on defense quickly, and his effort and understanding of defensive schemes should lead to Karasev at least becoming passable on the defensive end.
How does Karasev fit in on the Cavaliers?
Karasev’s a bit of an ideal fit for the Cavs offensively. With Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack, and Dion Waiters aboard, the Cavs have a lot of solid pick-and-roll threats on the roster. What they lack, however, is outside shooting. C.J. Miles can provide spot-up help, and Alonzo Gee can pretend to, but the Cavs really lack a go-to three-point shooter outside of Irving. That changes with Karasev. He will likely be used in conjunction with either Earl Clark or Miles and a PNR threat, and help to space the floor for pick-and-roll offense. Defensively, Karasev has a long way to go, but he’s in a good situation. A stint in Canton might also help him at the beginning of the season on this end. I’d expect that’s where Karasev will end up after the preseason, then we will see a slow progression of his addition to the regular rotation by season’s end.