Sergey Karasev got a surprise start vs. the Bulls Thursday, his first of the year. For the most part he did well, scoring 11 points in 32 minutes to go along with five assists and five rebounds. He didn't shoot well, going 1-of-7 from downtown and 4-of-11 overall, but a couple of passes were eye-opening, as the YouTube video compiled by Piotr Zarychta shows. His defense remains, uh, a work in progress.
In the Nets win over Philly, Karasev didn't play much, but had the NBA assist of the night, a near full-court toss to a streaking Bojan Bogdanovic for the score. In fact, over the past four games, Tony Brown has played the often bench-warming Karasev a total of 73 minutes. The last time the 22-year-old Russian played that many minutes in a four-game stretch was in December of 2014, when he started 16 games for Brooklyn. Then, not long afterwards, he went down for the season with a knee injury.
So the question is: is Sean Marks giving Karasev an audition? The Nets apparently gave up on him in preseason when they decided not to extend his rookie contract, which would have cost them $2.45 million in precious cap space next season. Lionel Hollins gave him limited minutes in November after Sergey's father, Vasily, showed up in the Russian media criticizing the Nets coach. Between then and the time Hollins was fired, Karasev was DNP-CD 14 times. Five other games, he played five minutes or less. Under Tony Brown, he was used sparingly as well, other than a three-game set at the end of February. Then came the last four games.
Karasev will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He is the Nets' third youngest player, after the two 21-year-old rookies. He also was the youngest male basketball player --and a bronze medalist-- in the London Olympics, where he played for David Blatt. If he were still in Europe, he'd be seen as a top international prospect, the kind Marks --and former Russian league star Trajan Langdon-- might like. Just sayin'.