In an interview with a Russian sports site, Andrei Kirilenko spoke of how his former Nets teammate --and protege'-- Sergey Karasev is in a "difficult situation" as the playoff race tightens and his spot in the rotation has been filled by Markel Brown and Bojan Bogdanovic.
Kirilenko, who returned to Russia last month to play once again for CSKA Moscow, also said his place in Karasev's circle of friends has been filled by Alexey Shved, a Team Russia member who recently joined the Knicks.
AK-47 was asked specifically about the 21-year-old downfall from December, when he averaged 8.6 points per game and shot 34.4 percent from three to February when he played only 19 points in two games.
"It's hard for Karasev, because Brooklyn is in a difficult situation, they are fighting for eighth spot," said Kirilenko, who played little for the Nets before being traded to the 76ers, told F-Sport. "There are good players on Karasev's position. There is just no place in rotation for him to fit in. I can only wish Sergey that he keeps working to get better. He does a good job, arriving before practice to start working and then being one of the last guys to leave the gym. But a lot depends on a coach there."
Indeed, sources say that Karasev as well as Bogdanovic, Brown and Cory Jefferson will often arrive up to an hour and half before practice to shoot around and work out among themselves."
Karasev is lucky, Kirilenko notes, that Shved, a good friend from Team Russia, has arrived in New York just as he was leaving.
"We used to spend a lot of time together. But now Alexey Shved arrived there to replace me, so Sergey got a new friend, everything is fine. Even though they are on different teams, they are still close to each other." AK-47 noted that Shved, like Karasev, has gone through ups and downs in his career but now has a great opportunity with the Knicks.
Thanks to Alexander Chernykh of Rush'n Hoops for the translation.