Draft Projection: No. 14: Utah Jazz
Notes: Insider Only
Positives: Insider Only
Negatives: Insider Only
Summary: June 26 Update: The Russian sharpshooter shot up boards only in April after a stellar performance at the Nike Hoop Summit convinced scouts that his strong play in Russia this year wasn't a fluke. Endowed with a lethal jump shot and basketball intelligence, he's one of the more NBA-ready players in the draft.
Quick fact: Karasev held his opposing shooters to a 28.6 field goal percentage on spot-ups, which ranked in the 95th percentile in all European competition (min. 100 plays).
June 25 Update: The Mavericks continue to lean heavily toward trading the pick (if they haven't already). According to various reports, one scenario floating around have them swapping picks with the Cavs. If that happens, it's almost certainly to be for Karasev. There are several other teams who are after Karasev, including the Bucks, Hawks and Nets, and they could be great trade partners. If the Mavericks keep the pick, Michael Carter-Williams and Dennis Schroeder also would be possibilities here.
June 24 Update: Karasev is another player who made a strong push up the board thanks to a great Nike Hoop Summit performance. Every voter in our Secret NBA Draft Big Boardgave him a rating between 5 and 7. While no one seems particularly wowed by Karasev, all the teams seem to think his shooting should keep him from being a bust. His draft night range is 11 to 19.
June 18 Update: The Mavericks continue to lean heavily toward trading the pick (if they haven't already). Multiple sources say it's unlikely the Mavs will be selecting for themselves when they make this pick on draft night. However, if they do keep the pick, selecting an international player that the Mavs can stash in Europe offers the cap flexibility Dallas is seeking. With their favorite, Dario Saric, out of the draft, a player such as Karasev seems like a great fit. His ability to shoot and his experience playing at a high level in Russia put him ahead of the curve. He'd be a great fit in Dallas whenever he comes over (either this season or next), and at this point his draft stock looks high enough to justify the pick.
June 10 Update: Karasev worked out in Las Vegas for a couple of hours and then shut things down before the draft. He got on a plane back to Russia and canceled his remaining workouts. The Hawks and Cavs look like the teams with the most interest in him, though the Wolves have taken a strong look at him as high as No. 9.
May 28 Update: Karasev continues to draw interest from teams looking for a wing who can shoot the basketball. However, he's getting significant competition from several others shooters, including Allen Crabbe and Reggie Bullock. With Karasev unable to do team workouts (he will participate in a group workout in Las Vegas this weekend), he might be losing some ground.
May 15 Update: Karasev turned down an invitation to attend the combine because of commitments in Russia. However, he'll soon be back in the U.S. for workouts. A number of teams in the second half of the draft need shooters who can play right away. Karasev fits the bill.
May 8 Update (Projected No. 22 pick, Brooklyn Nets): No, I'm not just placing Karasev here because he's Russian. Brooklyn is playing to win now, and there aren't a lot of players on the board who could step in and help the Nets right away. Karasev is putting up impressive numbers in Russia, and the Nets could use another sniper from beyond the arc.
May 2 Update: Karasev also had a strong week at the Nike Hoop Summit. While his shot wasn't falling particularly well in the game, he was the best shooter on the floor in practices all week and showed a high basketball IQ in the game. Given how well he's produced in Russia, many scouts believe that Karasev could be an immediate scoring threat off the bench.
Apr 29 Update: Karasev made a strong impression last week during the practices at the Nike Hoop Summit. The Russian scoring guard was the best shooter in the gym during practices and showed off a high basketball IQ when putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket. While his jump shot didn't fall in the Hoop Summit game, he showed terrific poise and made several terrific passes that showed off his feel for the game. As the buzz continues to grow for Karasev, he looks like a strong candidate to be a first-round pick.
Apr 20 Update: While more well-known international players such as Dario Saric and Rudy Gobert are about the future, the 19-year-old Karasev is about now. He's averaging more than 16 PPG in the Russian League and Eurocup. Karasev is just scratching the surface of his abilities and skills.
The lefty always has been known as a heady player who finds a way to get to the basket. He has good ballhandling skills and is an excellent passer. He's worked on his perimeter game to the point that it's now one of his major strengths. Karasev is shooting an impressive 49 percent from 3-point range in Eurocup play, and his shooting stroke has been on full display at the Nike Hoop Summit practices this week.
While it's likely Andrew Wiggins takes over lead-scoring duties for the World Team, Karasev easily could take the reins if he needs to. Other than Wiggins, Karasev is the best pure scorer on the squad and is looking more and more like a lock for the first round.
Apr 12 Update:Karasev is a smooth, ball handling wing who has a high basketball IQ, who also can shoot the basketball. He's an excellent passer and can play some point forward when called upon. He's averaging 16.1 ppg and shooting 49 percent from three in Eurocup play this year. Could be a nice stash pick for the Cavs who continue to need to add depth to their backcourt.
Feb 22 Update: Karasev is one of my favorite young players in Europe right now, although he's only 19 years old and less than 200 pounds soaking wet. He popped up on NBA scouts' radars last summer at the FIBA Under-19 World Championships in Russia's win over Team USA in the quarterfinals. He dropped 17 points on Jeremy Lamb, Doug McDermott & Co. in what was a big upset.
His skill level and great feel for the game have allowed him to already have an impact for Triumph Moscow in Russia's top basketball league. And while Karasev is not a natural point guard, he has tremendous ballhandling and passing skills with either hand, excellent court vision and good quickness for a 6-7 wing player. It is no surprise because his father, Vasily, was an outstanding point guard for Russia's national team in the 1990s.
Combine Karasev's basketball acumen with a jump shot that is accurate, but will get better with improved strength and physical maturity, and you have a rising European star. Remember his name and file it away, because it's unlikely we will see him in the next two NBA drafts.