Former Teammates Leaning On One Another In New Setting

by Doug Ammon

Alexey Shved and Luc Mbah a Moute come from worlds apart.

One grew up in Belgorod, Russia, a small industrial town that sits 25 miles from the Ukrainian border. The other was born a prince in a village near the Cameroonian capitol, Yaoundé. But basketball brought these two to the United States, and eventually to Minnesota, where they fostered a relationship as Timberwolves teammates that was built upon the surprising similarities that they shared.

“Alexey’s actually my guy, so [playing alongside him in Philadelphia] should be really fun,” Mbah a Moute told reporters on Thursday. “Back in Minnesota, we were best buddies, so I really like having him on the team. It makes the transition easier." 

Mbah a Moute arrived in Minnesota after a three-month stint with the Sacramento Kings that was preceded by five seasons with the Bucks. In Milwaukee, he started 233 games, averaging 6.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in just over 25 minutes per game.

Before being dealt to Philadelphia, Shved had spent the entirety of his two-year NBA career with the Timberwolves. Like many European products, he began playing professionally as a teenager before jumping the pond to the United States in 2012. Since then, the 6’6” combo guard has appeared in 140 NBA games, averaging 6.5 points and 2.5 assists per game.

Fast-forward to August 23, 2014, and both players found themselves on the outgoing end of a trade that sent forward Thaddeus Young from Philadelphia to Minnesota. 

“Everybody on the [Sixers] has been great to us, not just to me, but to Alexey as well,” said Mbah a Moute. “We’ve had time to connect with everyone, and we’re starting to make relationships with everyone. They’ve embraced us and made us feel at home.”

It’s all part of the “we” mentality that seems to permeate every level of this Sixers team.

Shved and Mbah a Moute figure to play important roles both on and off the court for the Sixers this season. Shved has experience playing both guard positions and has flashed the ability to space the floor, something head coach Brett Brown said he’ll need more of this season. Mbah a Moute is a defensive-minded forward who, at 28 years old, will be leaned upon as a veteran leader.

Although they began their NBA journeys 6,000 miles apart, Alexy Shved and Luc Mbah a Moute are now closer then ever. 

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