Because yesterday’s Saturday Six Pack: Reasons to love Anthony Bennett went down so smooth it’s time to enjoy a Sunday serving, this time Russki style.
Six reasons to love new Cavaliers’ swingman Sergey Karasev brought to you buy the guy who was excited about Omri Casspi, Sasha Pavlovic, and Jiří Welsch.
1. He can shoot.
The Cavs were and still are in desperate need of wings who can knock down the 3-ball, and Karasev is supposed to be a marksman from deep. Although his numbers in league play were below average , Karasev wowed scouts with his quick trigger and long range at the Nike Hoops Summit. If you don’t have wings who can space the floor and knock down shots you’re team is going to be in trouble. Look no further than this year’s NBA Finals to see the importance of the 3-ball. When guys like Danny Green and Shane Battier were hitting their threes, both teams became exponentially more effective on the offensive side of the ball. Conversely, Memphis had no chance in their series against San Antonio since they had no one on the perimeter that could draw defenders away the paint.
2. He wants to be bigger star than Andrei Kirilenko
On draft night when Shane Battier asked Karasev about his fellow countryman Andrei Kirilenko, Karasev responded with “He’s like a really big star in Europe. I want to be like him, maybe be bigger”.
Kirilenko is a huge star in Europe, and he’s also had a pretty damn good NBA career. He’s averaged double digit scoring in all but one of his 11 NBA seasons, was named to an All-Star team, and three times was a member of the NBA All-Defensive team.
If Karasev can even match the success of Kirilenko in the NBA I’d be thrilled, and if he surpasses him I’d be downright giddy. Now all Karasev needs to do is work out a deal with the future Mrs. Karasev like the one Andrei and his wife, Russian pop star Masha Kirilenko have.
3. He’s the son of a Russian basketball legend.
Sergey is the son of Vasily Karasev. Vasily was the starting point guard for the Russian National team from 1993 to 2003, a star for Russian power CSKA Moscow, and is the current coach at Sergey’s old club, Triumph Lyubertsy.
Basketball greatness is in Sergey’s genes.
4. He won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics at the age of 18.
Although Sergey didn’t receive playing time on Russia’s bronze medal winning team in London, the experience of playing and practicing with the third best team in the world at such a young age is invaluable. We’ve seen how time with the national team has helped many of the league’s young American stars such as Durant, Westbrook, Irving, Curry, and Rose take their game to the next level. Hopefully Sergey’s London experience along with his 2013 EuroBasket experience will make his game NBA ready.
5. He’s the most NBA ready international prospect from this draft.
Patience is something Cavs fans are running short on these days and the last thing anyone wants right now is a first round draft pick to be stashed away in Europe for a year or two. Having played professionally since the age of 16, played on the Olympic team, and been to the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland this is no wide eyed, and sheltered kid.
“I’m ready to come next year and play in Cleveland…I understand they need shooters. I’ll try to really help them and go as hard as possible.” Karasev said in his interview on draft night.
This kid is ready to get to work.
6. He’s a lefty.
With an overwhelming majority of players being right-handed, being a lefty gives Karasev just a little extra edge over the competition. In the flow of an NBA game it’s easy for defenders to simply forget the man their guarding is left-handed which can lead to an easy path to the rim every now and then.