NBA Position: SF
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Russia
Ceiling: Mike Miller
Basement: Eric Piatkowski
NBA Comparison: Marco Belinelli
- High Basketball IQ
- Quality Shooter
- Elite 3PT Shooter
- Aggressive Penatrator
- Good Passer
- Quality Defender
- Versatile Wing
From the 2013 Nike Hoops Summit –
Just about 18 months ago Sergey Karasev was in the shadows of his more flamboyant countryman from Russia, Dmitry Kulagin. That progressively changed over the past year as Karasev has improved his game from shooter to basketball player.
The 19 year old Karasev has accomplished a lot in his amateur career to date.
He was on the 2012 Russian Men’s Senior National Team represented at the Olympics where they finished with a Bronze Medal. Karasev did not make an impact on the team playing a total of 5:49 minutes and never scoring a point in the Olympic Games, but the experience was revolutionary for his game.
With Alexey Shved, Andrei Kirilenko, and Timofey Mozgov in the NBA as well as numerous before them, Karasev has the potential to be one of the better Russians to come to the NBA in recent years.
The experience of being on the bench with former and current NBA players from Russia as well as getting to see the game played at a high level against teams like France, Spain, Lithuania, and America helped Karasev soak in the game.
From that point on he became the best prospect in Russia where he averaged 16.1 PPG 3.0 RPG and 2.4 APG in 32.2 minutes for Triumph Moscow in the Eurocup.
Karasev took control of the offense showing the versatility he has as a basketball player. Athletically he is not going to blow you away with length (6-9.25) or speed, but he is deceptively quick with the ball in his hands. He has shown a burst when he catches the ball with a jab step and move around his defender. His shooting allows him to use that quickness as a sort of play-action fake with the defense assuming he is going to hoist up a jump-shot, but instead he swings around them.
As a lefty Karasev is formidable with his right hand, especially when he catches the ball on the left side and attacks the middle going left-to-right, but he is left hand dominant.
On the offensive side of the ball everything starts for Karasev with his shooting. He is an elite three-point shooter with very good range out to the NBA three or deeper. His shooting motion is near perfect with one effortless motion. His release is more smooth than quick, but he gets the ball off with good timing avoiding defenders.
Karasev sets up his shot by moving well off the ball and finding his spots in the corners or at the elbow three. He is not quick in terms of top end speed, but his subtle movement and elusiveness allows him to escape defenders to find space for his release. As an overall shooter Karasev shot the ball 49% from three and 41% from two with about 41.4% of his attempts coming from deep. He is a shooter that can fill it up from deep as well as the mid-range with his elite shooting stroke.
With the ball Karasev has evolved as a play-maker as well showing the ability to put the ball on the floor and create for others. Against NBA athletes he will struggle creating off the dribble, but Karasev has show a knack for making the smart basketball play consistently.
Despite being an elite shooter and quality scorer Karasev is not a selfish ball-dominant player on the offensive end. He keeps the ball moving and makes the right basketball play more often than not.
The athletic transition to the NBA game will be the toughest challenge for Karasev next year. He is playing in the Eurocup with the best teams outside of the NBA, but the athletic competition is not comparable.
His craftiness allows him to be a league average defender, but he is not a ball stopper or isolation defender. His lack of top speed, strength, and average length will make Karasev a league average defender in the NBA as well. He has the basketball IQ and penchant for learning and improving that suggest that Karasev can develop into a serviceable defender with time.
Because of his shooting stroke and frame Karasev has drawn comparisons to Rudy Fernandez and other shooters.
His overall skill-set suggests he can be a bit more of a play-maker and overall scorer than Fernandez who relied solely on his three-point shooting to be effective. Karasev will not play above the rim, but has the ability to score the ball between the paint and the three-point line consistently.