Sunday night was the deadline for early entrants in to the NBA Draft. Most guys don't waste too much time declaring after the NCAA Tournament ends while others take their time and gauge their odds of being a first round pick or being drafted at all before they declare. One of the ones choosing the latter was Colorado's Andre Roberson, who waited till late Sunday to make his decision to enter the draft.
The San Antonio native took his time with good reason. Colorado University's Athletic Department reported that Roberson made his decision after meeting with Head Coach Tad Boyle and Athletic Director Mike Bohn to discuss the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee's evaluation of his draftability. That assessment revealed Roberson was likely a late second round pick and that there are guarantees he will be drafted at all.
Regardless of if he's drafted, Roberson has the ability to be a rotation player in the league. He's the reigning PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year, was second in the nation in rebounding and averaged a double-double the last two years. However, Roberson's offensive game didn't develop from year two to year three like scouts hoped. He's not a very good ball handler and doesn't have much of a mid-range game. Still, he did shoot 58 percent from the field and 34 percent from three, which shows a capability to hit the long range shot. If he can defend three positions on the floor, rebound the ball (a skill which definitely translates from college to the pros), and finish at the rim, what more are you looking for from a late first round pick or early second round pick?
At worst, the 6'7" Roberson is going to be like Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, capable of both playing power forward at times, but primarily serving as a shut down wing defender. But I think his offensive game will develop past Mbah a Moute's, even if it's just an ability to hit a corner 3. The draft combine will go a long way in determining where Roberson goes. But really, what would the Spurs have to lose by drafting a guy with his potential with the third to last pick of the draft?
Should Spurs target ready to play Russian?
Earlier this month, I touched on three international players with home run potential, but could also be busts. One prospect I left out was Russia's Sergey Karasev. I left him out because he's a safer pick than Dario Saric, Lucas Nogueira and Giannis Adetokunbo, but also has a little bit lower ceiling. The skinny on Karasev is that he's 19 year old, 6'7" shooting guard playing big minutes for Russia's BC Triumph.
Unlike a lot of the European prospects in this year's draft, Karasev has been very productive, averaging 16 points a game in 32 minutes during Eurocup. His numbers went up in both the VTB United League and Russian League seasons. Karasev can shoot, he's lefty with great passing abilities and he's got the size to play either wing position on offense. Defensively, he's a bit more of a question mark. He's not a terrible athlete, but as DraftExpress' Mike Schmitz notes, his technique is pretty bad. It could be that he's 19 and hasn't really been taught defensive technique yet. Schmitz added that he could definitely stand to gain some weight, especially if he's going to play small forward in the NBA. But really, as you can see from the video below, Karasev's shooting ability and court vision is really what stands out most about his game.
Right now, Karasev is ranked 20th on DraftExpress' big board and 25th on ESPN's. So he's certainly within the Spurs' range. I haven't seen the full details yet, but it appears Karasev's contract, but from what I've read it's flexible, meaning he could come over this summer or wait a year or two. Imagine a sharp shooting two guard that can create for others either playing next to Kawhi Leonard for years to come or replacing Manu Ginobili as a playmaking sixth man when Manu decides to hang it up.
The San Antonio Spurs need a bigger wing than Nando De Colo and it remains to be seen whether Gary Neal will get an offer in free agency to rich for the Spurs to match. Karasev could be their best option in this draft, even if they have to trade up a couple of spots to get him. His defense may shaky at best, but at 19 that's probably correctable. We're also talking about a kid who would be a freshman in college who is playing in one of the best leagues in Europe and leads his team in scoring. That's a very encouraging prospect and one certainly worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.
Photos: D1 Nation and FIBA