Coach Pepu Hernandez surprised everyone by putting Carlos Suarez
in the starting lineup. The 18 year old kid had shined in the last two games of the Euroleague's regular season, but those were meaningless games, as Estudiantes had run out their chances to qualify for the top-16 before he was given the green light. But the King's Cup is another story, and it speaks volumes about how satisfied his coach is with Carlos' work and level of performance on the court.
In the end he didn't play much, but enough to show some of his skills, particularly his reliable three point stroke (like Sergio, he converted one of his two attempts), some good passes, and his post-up game, which he wisely uses against smaller defenders, and where he shows nice footwork. He also tried to penetrate, without much success. There wasn't enough time for much more.
On defense, he was paired with Gelabale and Stojic, and still looked a little bit slow, as the Frenchman easily scored when attacking him the only time he tried. He needs to gain explosiveness to fight back against those quicker wings, and to improve his offensive array of weapons, especially to become more effective slashing and to be able to create his own shot.
Few kids this age draw such confidence about his future in Europe: it's clear that Suarez is a blue-chip player. But the concerns about a hypothetical NBA career are the same we expressed in the European Junior Championships reports:
he's not quick or explosive enough. He has athleticism for the small forward position, but he's not particularly tall for that position. However, watching him play with the big guys, I feel a little bit more optimistic, and I can no longer rule out him developing into an interesting prospect. We'll have to watch him carefully.