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

Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore - W. Chen 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Kansas City - D. Duffy 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
Seattle - J. Paxton 6:07 PM
Toronto - J. Happ
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 6:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 0 2nd Prd
NY Rangers 0
Detroit 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close