Wolves' Shved is a stranger in a strange land

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 24, 2012 - 8:09 AM

Russian Alexey Shved is learning the ways of the West and NBA.

You get the sense Alexey Shved has a lot to say.

It's just that, for now, language gets in the way. Shved has come from Russia to play basketball for the Timberwolves. He is a relative stranger in a strange land, struggling to master English, which has not dimmed his enthusiasm for his new home.

"It is totally different country," he said. "I like U.S., the people. Here everybody is like, 'Hey, hello!' ''

Shved, his teeth in braces, smiled. He smiles a lot, perhaps at least a little in frustration. During an interview, when he struggles to get a point across, he will stop and grin.

By all accounts, his ability to communicate is growing by leaps and bounds, on and off the court. But still, at times, it's hard. Just ask teammate Andrei Kirilenko, a fellow Russian who experienced a similar transition when he left his home country to play for Utah in 2001. It's as if he's become Shved's personal Wikipedia.

"He's got so many questions," Kirilenko said. "Some of them even I don't have answer. I'm like, 'Come on, Alexey, it will be OK.'"

So, for at least a while, Shved will have to let his play do the talking, although the transition on the court also comes with challenges.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman initially wanted Shved to split time between off guard and point guard -- where Shved played for Russia in the Olympics. But, ultimately, Adelman decided to let Shved concentrate on the off-guard position first.

There is no question his play has been uneven. After a 2-for-11 shooting performance in Chicago the other night, Shved is shooting 11-for-31 overall (35.5 percent), 4-for-16 from three-point range. It is clear he's still not sure, in Adelman's offense, when he should shoot and when he should pass.

Shved clearly has a playmaker's mentality, even at the off-guard spot, which the coach views as a positive. How many times a year ago did Adelman bemoan the lack of playmakers on the perimeter from someone other than the point guard?

Shved figures to get significant minutes behind Brandon Roy at shooting guard. Even after Shved's tough night shooting in Chicago, Adelman talked instead about the rookie's ability to move the ball, saying he might be the best player on the team at getting into the middle of the court and making plays for other people.

Still, this is a work in progress. Shved knows his defense has to improve, and his body offers a challenge in that regard.

The 6-6 Shved is so skinny -- and you thought Ricky Rubio was skinny? --it looks like a good, hard pick could break him in two.

"For sure I need to up my kilos," Shved said, smiling again, and flexing his left arm. "I need some pounds. I will work on that."

He is still adapting to the speed and physical nature of the game, and opponents are going to try to muscle him up.

"That's something he has to expect," Kevin Love said. "Whether it's rookies down to 10-year vets wanting to test Ricky last year, with Alexey it's the same thing."

But the little Shved has seen of NBA action so far has thrilled him.

"Here, if you're open, you go," he said. "If you have an open shot, you take it. If you miss a shot, it's not so bad. In Europe, if you miss a shot early, coach will sub for you. You can make a mistake here. That is very important for a player."

Love watched Shved in the Olympics. He knows Shved can hit the open shot and can get very, very hot in stretches. And he has a shooter's mentality.

"If he misses two shots in a row he believes the third one he's going to make it," Love said. "As far as ball-handling, he's a guy who needs to add a little strength to his frame. He's like Ricky in the sense he loves to stay in the gym. I think he's only going to get better.''

Kirilenko says the most difficult transition for Shved is off the court. And so he has tried to help the rookie, joking that his first bit of advice to the kid was how to handle a traffic stop should one occur.

"In Russia, if the police stop you, you can give him five dollars and say, 'I'm sorry' and keep going," Kirilenko joked. "Here you cannot do that. So, the little things, it's different."

Just about everything is different, and every day is a step. Shved just passed his driver's test and he's looking forward to exploring the cities. But for now, he lives downtown and his life is all about basketball.

"Here we play a little bit faster than in Europe," he said. "This has been really new to me. But I feel good right now. I can do the same as other players."

Staff writer Jerry Zgoda contributed to this report.

  • related content

  • Wolves Alexey Shved intercepted a pass meant for Bulls Jimmy Bulter du...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 4th Qtr 3:44
Baltimore 20
Dallas 27 4th Qtr 6:39
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 4th Qtr 2:19
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 4th Qtr 3:08
Houston 23
San Diego 7 4th Qtr 3:28
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 27 4th Qtr 4:03
Miami 24
Chicago 9 4th Qtr 1:36
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 31 4th Qtr 9:12
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 4th Qtr 1:05
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Detroit 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Houston 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 6:30 PM
Dallas
New York 8:00 PM
Portland
Toronto 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 4:00 PM
Florida
Vancouver 7:00 PM
Anaheim
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 46 FINAL
Arizona State 56
Longwood 58 2nd Half 1:12
Ball State 63
Sacred Heart 74 2nd Half 0:06
Brown 76
Colgate 64 FINAL
Columbia 69
MD-Eastern Shore 78 FINAL
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 50 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Marist 54 2nd Half 1:40
Elon 60
NJIT 62 2nd Half 2:18
Lafayette 65
Cincinnati Christian 58 FINAL
Liberty 78
Morgan State 53 2nd Half 0:50
Marquette 78
Campbell 56 2nd Half 1:26
Samford 62
Bucknell 64 2nd Half 1:04
Siena 67
Long Beach State 62 2nd Half 5:50
Syracuse 75
Coppin State 73 2nd Half 1:00
Evansville 76
UMKC 53 2nd Half 1:16
Indiana State 54
Hofstra 59 2nd Half 11:21
Long Island 37
Coast Guard 24 1st Half 0:26
Army 63
Thomas (GA) 26 1st Half 1:15
High Point 39
Texas Southern 19 1st Half 0:09
Kansas State 23
Rutgers 29 2nd Half
Monmouth 31
NC Wesleyan 22 1st Half 0:01
NC A&T 27
South Dakota St 30 2nd Half
Northern Iowa 39
Central Penn College 24 1st Half 3:08
Radford 55
Bowling Green 31 2nd Half
South Florida 34
Harris-Stowe 31 1st Half 0:10
SE Missouri St 36
Robert Morris-IL 25 2nd Half
SIU Edwardsville 55
Northland College 31 2nd Half
North Dakota St 46
Milwaukee 23 2nd Half
South Dakota 33
Northwestern St 15 1st Half 11:49
Arkansas 20
Saint Peters 3:00 PM
Cornell
St Katherine 3:00 PM
Fresno State
Haskell 3:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Wake Forest 3:00 PM
Richmond
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
Xavier
SD Christian 3:05 PM
Northern Ariz
Judson 3:30 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Ill-Chicago 4:00 PM
Bradley
Loyola-Maryland 4:00 PM
Fairfield
Miss Valley St 4:00 PM
Houston
Lehigh 4:00 PM
UMBC
Delaware State 4:00 PM
Temple
Belmont 5:00 PM
Butler
Howard 5:00 PM
Fordham
NW Christian 5:00 PM
Nevada
UC Davis 5:00 PM
Washington St
Abilene Christian 5:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UCLA 5:30 PM
Alabama
Stony Brook 7:00 PM
Washington
Buffalo 7:00 PM
Wisconsin
CS-Bakersfield 9:00 PM
California
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
St Francis-PA 54 2nd Half 2:45
Pittsburgh 92
Milwaukee 66 2nd Half 1:32
IUPU-Ft Wayne 73
Gardner-Webb 59 2nd Half 1:52
Longwood 58
Bucknell 61 2nd Half 2:00
Binghamton 47
Northeastern 68 2nd Half 0:27
Albany 67
George Mason 62 2nd Half 0:26
Towson 68
Richmond 51 2nd Half 2:31
William & Mary 51
Tulane 32 2nd Half 18:58
Cincinnati 20
North Florida 44 2nd Half 1:46
Florida 61
Tennessee St 63 2nd Half 6:04
(12) Kentucky 73
Massachusetts 76 2nd Half 1:00
Boston U 54
Quinnipiac 62 2nd Half 3:47
Saint Josephs 59
Northwestern 57 2nd Half 1:23
(20) Michigan State 54
(17) Rutgers 64 2nd Half 1:17
Indiana 47
Western Mich 36 2nd Half 14:15
Stony Brook 36
Davidson 53 2nd Half 8:01
Virginia 40
UNC Greensboro 19 1st Half 4:20
LSU 30
Denver 24 2nd Half
North Texas 25
VA Commonwealth 34 2nd Half
Coppin State 30
Huston-Tillotson 9 2nd Half
Houston Baptist 43
Lamar 33 2nd Half
Rice 41
Miss Valley St 22 2nd Half
Alabama 29
Saint Louis 35 2nd Half
Eastern Illinois 20
Middle Tennessee 40 2nd Half
Tenn Tech 32
Penn State 24 1st Half 1:25
(23) Iowa 37
Purdue 28 2nd Half
Illinois 18
DePaul 48 1st Half 2:20
Illinois State 29
Sam Houston St 13 2nd Half
Wichita State 36
South Dakota 14 1st Half 10:19
TX-San Antonio 14
(4) Notre Dame 3:00 PM
UCLA
Coll of Charleston 3:00 PM
SC State
Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Dartmouth 3:00 PM
Niagara
Colgate 3:00 PM
Siena
Michigan 3:00 PM
Wisconsin
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Yale 3:30 PM
(25) Arizona State
UC Santa Barbara 4:00 PM
(16) Stanford
Long Island 4:00 PM
Long Beach St
Jackson State 4:00 PM
Louisiana
Eureka 4:30 PM
Western Ill
Cornell 5:00 PM
(22) Syracuse
Temple 7:30 PM
Memphis

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close