The Cleveland Cavaliers are riddled with them. Up and down the roster, there is no way to avoid it. Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Jarrett Jack, Spencer Hawes, Anthony Bennett, Luol Deng, Dion Waiters, and Tyler Zeller … all of them first round picks in their respective draft year. Nine first round picks in all currently ply their trade in Cleveland, many of them being top 10 picks in their day. But lost in all of the drama of the year, and in the overshadowing of a higher pick failing to live up to his own potential, is the fact that only eight players are listed above.
This seems almost too appropriate as it seems as if Sergey Karasev has simply been forgotten by many. A 20-year-old wingman who was drafted into the league a mere nine months ago … at 19th overall. Many thought that he could have a bigger immediate impact on the Cavaliers than Anthony Bennett.
After playing professionally in Russia as a teenager, Karasev was praised for his high basketball IQ and had a reputation as a strong outside shooter. The dream was that Karasev could finally fill the void that was the small forward position in Cleveland.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Karasev has lost his value. He hasn’t done anything to damage the possibility that he could develop into a key role player for Cleveland. It’s simply a fact that he hasn’t done anything as of yet. He has simply been … forgotten.
Continually being assigned and recalled, and moving back-and-forth between Cleveland and Canton (D-League), Karasev has appeared in just 33 total games this year (20 NBA, 13 D-League). To break it down even further, in the 20 NBA games he has played this year, Karasev is averaging just 7.3 minutes per game. That average is less than half of the minutes averaged by undrafted Matthew Dellavedova (15.2MPG, while appearing in 54 games).
Although his NBA stats have been underwhelming to date, his performance through 13 games in the D-League has to be encouraging for the Cavaliers front office (who some think had forgotten they have a D-League affiliate with no assignment for Anthony Bennett). Karasev has played an average of 30.2 minutes, scored 13.2 points per game, gotten 4.3 rebounds per game, and 2.5 assists per game; all while shooting better than 45 percent from the field, 43.3 percent from three, and better than 80 percent from the free throw line.
Game action is exactly what Karasev needs to develop, and that is exactly what he is getting at the moment … it’s just not where the organization expected him to be playing. But the fact of the matter is that Karasev is working hard so that he hopefully won’t be forgotten for long.