Alexey Shved won't turn 24 until next month, but already has played in Olympic basketball games and helped lead his CSKA Moscow team for four league championships.
But the Russian rookie guard won't play his first real NBA game until the Timberwolves' season opener Friday night against Sacramento.
"Really, I'm not nervous, I'm ready for the game," he said. "Because this is basketball, anything can happen, but I want to show my best."
Shved played in all seven preseason games, coming off the bench while playing mostly shooting guard. He scored 15 points in a game in Chicago and had eight assists in the preseason finale at Milwaukee, but also shot 20.8 percent from the field (5-for-24) in the final three games.
"You know, all players aren't happy how they play," he said when asked about his preseason performance. "I'm happy I play basketball, but some moments I can do much better than what I do in games. After every game, I say, 'What can I do better in this moment?'
"Right now, I feel better than [when training camp started Oct. 2]. I speak with coaches, everything is good."
Just then assistant coach Bill Bayno shouted out the Russian word for "speak" as he walked past Shved while he was talking to reporters.
"You see: He starts to speak Russian," Shved said. "That's good."Almost ready
Starting guards Brandon Roy (bruised knee) and Luke Ridnour (herniated disc) both practiced Wednesday and Thursday and Wolves coach Rick Adelman declared them ready for Friday's opener.
The starting lineup's only remaining question is whether Dante Cunningham or Derrick Williams will take injured Kevin Love's power forward spot. Adelman said after practice Thursday that he is undecided.
Williams wore the white starters' jersey Thursday, but Adelman said that had little significance. Earlier in the week, he said his priorities for that starting position are energy and defense, which would suggest Cunningham.Etc.
• Who's that old guy hooping it up with "Uncle Drew" in a new Pepsi Max commercial? Look past the makeup and it's Love, who has joined Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving's crew on a second commercial featuring playground old timers. Titled "Uncle Drew: Chapter 2," it has received 167,000 hits in its first two days on YouTube.
• The Wolves have added two radio affiliates to their network in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and 28 stations now will carry their games, the most since the 2005-06 season. The flagship is WCCO 830 AM.