This offseason’s buzzword has been ‘guards’. The Bucks need guards. The only Bucks guard holding a contract for next season is Ish Smith.
But the dirty little untold tale is that of the other six players under contract, five are bigs: Henson, Sanders, Udoh, Gooden, and Ilyasova. The sixth is Luc Mbah a Moute, who has 1) had extensive knee problems, 2) is a massive offensive anchor, and 3) may still be better suited to play power forward than small forward.
So the Bucks have needs at small forward just as desperately as they do at guard. Mike Dunleavy is an unrestricted free agent. So too is Marquis Daniels. Tobias Harris, last season’s Opening Night starter, is gone via trade.
It comes as no surprise then, that the Bucks are hot on the trail of Sergey Karasev.
Milwaukee has discussed switching draft spots (15 for 13) with Dallas to solidify itself to take Russian Sergey Karasev, sources tell Y!
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 27, 2013
The Bucks weren’t able to attend a workout that the 19-year-old held for scouts because they were holding their own workout the same day. Or perhaps it was a clever smokescreen. But the 6’9″ Karasev fits the Bucks’ profile for an offseason need because he’s young and has a high ceiling, he plays a well-rounded game (even if his defense needs a bit of a boost), and he fits a position of need on a team with very one-sided needs.
In 11 Eurocup games for Moscow Triumph, Karasev averaged 16.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while being coached by his father. He converted 49.0% of his three-point attempts and 82.6% of his free throws in those games. In the 20 games Triumph played in the top Russian pro league, Sergey put up a line of 18.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while converting 35.5% of his three-pointers and 84.1% of his free throws.
According to DraftExpress,
Karasev did most of his damage offensively in catch and shoot situations, taking advantage on the occasions when he found himself open. Shooting the ball with great range and effortless mechanics with his feet set, Karasev impressed scouts with his prolific perimeter shooting both in drills and game action to the point that it was surprising to see him miss at times. Making 38% of his 3-pointers this season, Karasev’s numbers belie his consistency from the perimeter given the defensive pressure he regularly faces.
There are guards out there, and the Bucks may draft one of them should Karasev be snatched away before they pick. (Click to read each profile.)
But for now, Karasev is the favorite. Plus, he’s left-handed. The Bucks love their lefties, don’t they?