INDEPENDENCE: Sergey Karasev will start at shooting guard tonight when the Cavs host the Detroit Pistons at Quicken Loans Arena. Karasev is starting in place of Dion Waiters, who will miss the game with a right hip contusion.
Karasev, selected 19th overall in June's draft, returned to the team in time for Wednesday’s practice after traveling to the Bahamas to receive his visa. Cavs coach Mike Brown wants to see how Karasev handles the expanded role and how he fits with the rest of the starters.
“The way our rotations are right now are not how we would do it during the regular season,” Brown said. “So I’m taking a look at different guys individually and different combinations.”
Alonzo Gee will start at small forward. He was limited to 10 minutes on Tuesday, but Brown expects to play Gee about 15 minutes tonight as he continues to work back from a hamstring injury.
Karasev could eventually grow into the small forward role, but Brown sees him more as a shooting guard right now just because of the size of opposing small forwards around the league.
That leaves Earl Clark and Alonzo Gee to resume their battle for the starting small forward position. Clark has struggled through three preseason games and Gee’s only shot of the preseason was forced over a double team – precisely the type of mistakes Brown is trying to eliminate. He spent part of Wednesday’s lengthy film session pointing out how Clark is dribbling too much with the ball and Gee forced a bad shot.
Brown conceded he’s concerned with how his small forwards have struggled thus far, but he’s not making drastic changes yet.
“You’re concerned, but all you can do is coach and teach,” he said. “Hopefully over time you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for from that position. And if you don’t, you’ll go look someplace else for it. I know it’s not going to happen overnight, I have to be patient with this group because this is all new to them. I’m going to let it marinate, keep teaching and coaching and adjusting and hopefully somebody will get it and be able to step up and play that spot the right way.”