Athletically, Karasev is going to have concerns at the next level. In terms of lateral quickness and hops, Karasev isn’t athletic enough to defend SGs in the NBA, nor is he big or strong enough to defend SFs. He’ll likely struggle to defend against players who can create off the dribble though at 6’7 with a decent wing-span he’ll have some ability to defend smaller players with his size and positioning.
Size-wise, while being skinny, Karasev presents nice height as a shooting guard. Karasev is able to shoot over opponents and if he sticks as a two, could post up opponents if he’s able to add some bulk. As a three, Karasev is a bit undersized. He’ll likely defend the weaker of the opposing wing players, so the real question will be who he draws defensively from the opposing team.
There are no reported off the court issues with Karasev.
Basketball IQ and Will to Want It
Karasev is a tough competitor and shows tremendous basketball IQ. While being overmatched physically at times, he still holds his own defensively playing pro ball overseas and limited time in tours in the U.S. He does this by will, anticipation and knowing his opponents weaknesses. With age and an NBA conditioning program, Karasev has some athletic upside and could become a more hard nosed player.
Karasev, to me, possesses the highest basketball IQ in this draft. He understands floor spacing, where to set up to shoot, when to pass, what angles to play both offensively and defensively, and plays like a chess player who’s two moves ahead of his opponent. Karasev has the will, the basketball IQ, and the skills which should help him overcome his athletic deficiencies.
Skill-wise, Karasev is very advanced at his age. Karasev’s known for his shooting and at 6’7 can shoot over the top of most shooting guards. However, he also passes with flair and can take what opponents give him. While not a natural creator off the dribble, he has the ball handling to create his smooth mid-range jumper and the vision to find open shooters or cutters when given a little space or creating room on a catch and pump fake. He also uses jab steps occasionally to set up plays.
Defensively, Karasev will likely struggle at the next level. While he is heady and knows how to play players, quicker, athletic players will take advantage of his limited athleticism. That said, Karasev did average over 4 rebounds a game at age 19 which shows his will to mix it up despite limited athleticism.
Overall, Karasev is an intriguing talent based on his understanding of the game, shooting, handles, and passing. Top this off, and he is a lefty which allows him to play at different angles than most opponents are used to. He’s comparable to a slightly taller Marco Belinelli with some upside or a slightly less athletic left-handed Klay Thompson with a little more passing and ball-handling but less defense.
How does he fit with the Bulls?
The Bulls needs more shooters/ball-handlers, and Karasev can do both. Will Karasev be athletic enough to play more than a role off the bench though? My gut feeling about him is that he will be a very good player at the next level, and he has been my second favorite option after Gorgui Dieng if either are available and ahead of Tim Hardaway Jr.
However, I really go back and forth between Dieng and Karasev and whom I would want to draft, and if possible to move up without giving up too much, I would move up to draft Karasev. I just feel he has the potential to compliment our team well. Recently, it has been reported that Dieng might have some knee issues, and we need less injury prone players.