Unlike the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, I loved the Cavaliers selecting Sergey Karasev, a small forward from Russia, with the 19th overall pick in the NBA Draft. Due to a weak draft class and Croatian small forward Dario Saric pulling out of the draft last minute, Karasev wasn’t expected to around when the Cavaliers came on the clock for a second time. But for whatever reason, he was and the Cavaliers got great value in the nineteen year old. Again, unlike the top pick, picking Karasev at this point in the draft was a no brainer.
First and foremost, Karasev helps to fill the Cavaliers weakest positon of small forward. Unlike Alonzo Gee, Karasev has range and favorably compares as a prospect to longtime NBA gunslinger Kyle Korver. Impressively, at 19, not only was he a Russian Olympian, but also the go-to scorer in his professional leagues. That’s rare for someone his age. He only hit 31.1 percent of his jumpers last season, but scouts do not seem too worried about that percentage. They come away impressed with his range and consistency, which was heavily showcased at the Nike Hoops Summit.
My favorite part about this pick is how he fits in on the Cavaliers. Although drafted as a small forward, I see the potential to play both shooting guard and small forward. At both positons, he can stretch the floor and space out the paint for both the bigs and Kyrie Irving. A potential lineup of Irving, Karasev, C.J. Miles, top pick Anthony Bennett and Anderson Varejao/Tristan Thompson is a lineup primed for spacing. The same thing goes if Dion Waiters is substituted for Miles.This pick gives the Cavaliers real versatility and I can’t wait to see how coach Mike Brown and his staff use the Russian rookie.
Draft Grade: A-