Spurs draft pick Karaulov played in the Russian second division last year for Nizhny Novgorod. He averaged 11.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, which aren’t bad numbers I guess. But to put them in some sort of context, Karaulov averaged 17.2 ppg and 9.5 rpg for a different second division team in the 2003-04 season, the year before the Spurs drafted him. So somehow, in the six years post hence, the soon-to-be 28 year old Karaulov has gotten less productive.
This year, he has upgraded from the Russian second division to the Russian Superleague. This is good. But what is not good is Sergei Karaulov’s performance this year. In 12 games for Krasnie Krilya Samara, Karaulov is averaging 3.8 points and 2.6 rebounds, totalling 45 and 31. Those aren’t very good numbers, but they’re even worse considering that 25 points and 9 rebounds of that (as well as 4 steals) came in one game, a late December loss to Dynamo Moscow. Therefore, outside of that one game, Karaulov has totalled 20 points, 22 rebounds and 27 fouls in 100 minutes.
Some Spurs draft picks pan out. Some don’t. This one didn’t.
Coby Karl went to camp with the Cavaliers, and made the team when it was determined that they needed some guard insurance in the wake of Delonte West’s whoopsy. He stayed on the roster until the guarantee date, yet played only five minutes in that time. After being waived, Karl went to the D-League for three weeks before being signed to a ten-day contract with the Golden State Warriors; in five games there he averaged 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists, shooting only 2-11 from three-point range. The Warriors didn’t bring him back for a second ten-dayer – instead signing Reggie Williams later in the year – and Karl returned to the D-League and the Idaho Stampede. In 21 D-League games this year, Karl is averaging 38.0 minutes, 18.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.
Coby Karl looks exactly like his dad. And speaking of; get well soon, George Karl.
Former Magician Kasun is in Turkey, playing for Efes Pilsen. He is averaging 8.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in the Turkish league, and averaged 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in Efes’s EuroLeague run. Efes have had an ugly season of infighting and disappointment, but Kasun has been good, producing those numbers in only about 15 minutes of action, and outplaying the guys who play ahead of him. And he’s reined his fouls in, too.
Kansas graduate Kaun is finally breaking out. Playing for CSKA Moscow, he is averaging 12.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in 22 minutes per game in the Russian league, alongside 9.1/4.1 in the EuroLeague and 9.7/4.0 in the VTB United League. Kaun’s strong season has drawn the attention of the Cavaliers, who own his draft rights and are said to be looking to bring him over next season. Could he be worse than Shaq’s remnants? Not really, no.
The only professional Eritrean basketball player in the world, Thomas Kelati was a training camp signing of the L.A. Lakers this summer. The Lakers brought in several players even when they were fully aware that they weren’t going to keep any of them, so no matter how well Kelati shot the ball, he wasn’t going to make the team anyway. And inevitably, he didn’t. Kelati is playing for Valencia in Spain and averaging 8.1 points per game in the ACB, alongside 6.7 ppg in the EuroCup.
Tre Kelley also went to camp, this time with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He did not make the team either, and so went to China to play for Dongguan, where his performance is talked about here. Since the end of the CBA regular season, Kelley has moved to the Lebanon to play for Sagesse, but statistics are unavailable.
Billy Keys is not my lover, but he is a starting guard for Greek’s third-best team, Maroussi. He is averaging 11.1 points and 2.7 assists in the Greek league, alongside 10.8 points and 2.5 points in Maroussi’s completed EuroLeague campaign. And he’s managed to stave off being waived a couple of times in his two-year stay.
Viktor Khryapa is one of Europe’s assist leaders and one of the best players on the continent. As Kaun’s team mate on CSKA Moscow (pronounced Chessker, to rhyme with Albert Wesker from Resident Evil), Khryapa is averaging 28.9 minutes, 7.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in the Russian Superleague, 30.3/10.1/6.4/4.5 in the EuroLeague, and 27.1/9.3/6.5/4.4 in the VTB United League. He is third in Russia in assists, eighth in the EuroLeague and second in the VTB; second in Russia in rebounds, fifth in the EuroLeague and third in the VTB; third, fourth and second in steals. And he has also averaged 0.9 blocks per game in all three competitions. Khryapa doesn’t score much because he’s not a big scorer, but he’s doing everything else well. And now that he’s in a league where he doesn’t have to check LeBron James one on one, he’s doing damn well.
Kinsey spent last year on the Cavaliers bench, playing some garbage time minutes, and shooting the ball every touched it. He’s doing much the same sort of thing this year, only this time it’s in Turkey. Playing for Fenerbahce, Kinsey is averaging 9.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in the Turkish league, alongside 10.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in Fenerbahce’s long-since-completed EuroLeague campaign.
Kittles was covered not too long ago in the 1996 draft round-up. Long story short, he is now at Villanova.
Kleiza left the NBA to get more money in Europe – it’s weird that it’s possible this way around now – and is now one of the best players there. He still can’t defend either forward position, but he scores prolifically from both. Playing for Olympiacos in Greece, Kleiza is averaging 15.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in only 23 minutes per game in the Greek league (Olympiacos often win in blowouts, and also take advantage of the fact that they go 12 deep), alongside 17.9 points and 6.9 rebounds in 30 minutes per game in the EuroLeague. The points per game average leads the EuroLeague, and if you’re the leading scorer in the second-highest standard league in the world, you’re a fine player.
Every year, there’s a cluster of veteran free agent American point guards who have survived in the league for a couple of years longer than perhaps they might, purely because of this veteran status, which seems to have particular resonance at the point guard positions. These players generally stay unsigned for at least one year, fighting for whatever midseason positions come up, and a couple of them get spots. Jason Hart has had a couple of turns this year, and Lindsey Hunter squeezed a year and a half out of the Bulls. Eddie Gill played 20 days with the Bucks last year, Chucky Atkins hooked up with the Pistons this year aged 58, while Anthony Carter and Kevin Ollie have made this into an artform. But Brevin Knight is one of the ones on the pile. He is unsigned, old but seemingly not retired, with a good career to his name so far. Seemingly, he’s just waiting for that call, that opportunity, that chance to prove he can still play.
But that chance has not come.