Weight: 190 pounds
Position: Shooting Guard / Point Guard
How Acquired: The Timberwolves signed Shved as a free agent on July 25.
Past Experience: Shved has spent the past six seasons playing professionally in Russia. He is coming off a 2011-12 campaign with CSKA Moscow in which he was named the BEKO PBL Playoffs MVP by Sports Express and helped his squad win the Russian National Championship, averaging 14.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 60.0 percent from 3-point range. He made his professional debut in 2006 with CSKA Moscow in the Russian Super A league, and he made his Euroleague debut in 2007. He also has played for the Russian National Team, including winning the Bronze Medal with Russia this summer.
Shved played three exhibition games with CSKA Moscow against NBA opponents in October 2010, facing the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat. Shved scored 20 points during that three-game stretch, including 13 in a victory against the Cavaliers. CSKA Moscow went 1-2 in that preseason tour.
What He’ll Bring To Minnesota: Shved is the type of player who seems to have a strong sense of awareness on the basketball court and is capable of finding his teammates for open looks and for home run plays. His background gives Minnesota an extra ball handler as Shved has played point guard and, at times, has shown the ability to provide the type of spark Timberwolves fans enjoyed with Ricky Rubio last season. Shved can score in bunches—he scored 13 of his 25 points in the Bronze Medal game on Sunday in the 10-minute fourth quarter—and has shown he can drive to the basket and connect from the perimeter. In 21 Euroleague appearances, he’s shot 49.3 percent from 3-point range and is averaging 10.6 points per contest.
Where He’ll Fit In: Despite Shved’s six-year professional career in Europe and his experience with the Russian National Team, he still joins the Wolves as an NBA rookie and President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said in Shved’s introductory teleconference that there could be an adjustment period for him learning the NBA style game. Kahn said it’s important not to put too much pressure on Shved to be a major contributor right away, but he will be part of the team’s wing rotation and should give Minnesota a player who can create for himself or for others. Kahn called Shved a 2-1, meaning he will be used in the shooting guard role but can also be an added ball handler. Kahn also said he sees a potential scenario where Shved could be moved into the small forward role if coach Rick Adelman decides to play a smaller lineup, depending on defensive matchups.
Wolves Connections: Shved will join the Timberwolves this season with Andrei Kirilenko, with whom he played in Russia for both CSKA Moscow and the Russian National Team. Shved and Kirilenko were major contributors on Team Russia during the Olympics and seemed to have a strong rapport working together on the court. The two will bring an added European style of play, complementing Rubio of Spain and center Nikola Pekovic of Montenegro, and the two already have a visible level of chemistry and familiarity with one another from playing the past year together.
Quotable: “Since I first started playing basketball when I was 6 or 7 years old, when my dad used to bring home VHS tapes of NBA games because back in those times there was no internet yet and we didn’t have satellite TV, so since those days I told my mom and dad that this was my wish to play like the guys on TV. So basically since I saw playing, I had a dream to play, following NBA TV games and that was my wish to play with some of the best players.” — Wolves guard Alexey Shved