Shved Adjusting To NBA Game

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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After a week in Timberwolves Training Camp, Alexey Shved is finding his way. Already a player with the skills deemed transferable to the NBA game, Shved is becoming familiar with coach Rick Adelman’s system, his teammates and what’s being asked of him on the court.

Now, as the Wolves move into their first week of preseason games, Shved is about find out how his skill set meshes with the physicality of competitive NBA games.

Throughout camp, Shved has showcased both his freestyle passing and his shooting touch on a regular basis. A combo guard who has played off the ball next to either Luke Ridnour and JJ Barea during camp, the rookie from Russia has the speed and the touch to play in the NBA. But when he gets on the court with an opposing team, that’s when Adelman said he’ll get a better feel for how he’ll handle his first NBA season.

At 6-foot-6 and 190-pounds, physicality will be the issue.

“People are going to get into him. That’s how they do it in our league,” Adelman said. “They’re not going to let him run around. I think he’s going to be fine. He just needs some experience.”

Adelman said he’s been happy with the way Shved has shot the ball and made passes during camp. And when he’s needed help adjusting, he’s had friend and teammate Andrei Kirilenko with him to help explain situations or drills.

Kirilenko played with Shved last year in Russia as well as during the Olympics, and he’s quick to say Shved has had no trouble making the adjustment to the NBA. Before arriving in Minnesota, Kirilenko told Shved he has the style of play that translates well to the NBA, and he’s seen nothing to make him think otherwise this week in Mankato.

“I know he can play,” Kirilenko said.

“For me, he looks great, and especially the first year being in the NBA system, he’s doing a very good job.”

Part of it is Shved’s familiarity with they offensive system. He said a lot of what the Wolves are doing so far in Training Camp compares well to some of the schemes he’s familiar with from previous teams.

“It’s a fast transition game and we play good defense,” Shved said. “Very fast offense is what coach wants.”

He said having Kirilenko by his side is a big help, and he’s been able to talk about situations with him on the court. Adelman said the two communicate a lot during practice, which has been a good thing in helping Shved learn on the fly.

Four days in, Shved has participated in all team activities—including half-court sets and scrimmages—and has shown he belongs with this group.

He said Adelman has told him shooting will be a big asset offensively, and he’s starting to transition from his point guard mentality to being more of an off-the-ball guard. He said the biggest challenge is the speed of the game.

“Like in Europe it’s more of a combination game and a not so fast game like here,” Shved said. “Aggression game is fast and more athletic players than in Europe. For me, I like much better.”

Kirilenko said he’s not worried about Shved’s development.

“When he was in Russia I said the style of basketball you’re playing is NBA style, that’s how you’re supposed to play in America,” Kirilenko said. “He’s just playing a good game, and he’s going to do awesome.”

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