Alexey Shved is missing. At least, the Shved that showed us glimpses of potentially becoming a serviceable role player is missing. Instead, we’ve got a clunky non-shooter who can’t seem to throw it into the ocean (unless you count the “sea of fans”). The Minnesota Timberwolves thought they struck gold, but instead they’re left trying to figure out what happened.
Full disclosure here — I love me some tall guards, especially point guards. Yes, I was extremely excited about Marko Jaric and not just because he happened to marry one of the hottest supermodels in the world. Heck, that would make me put my shirt on backwards as well. So, it’s no surprise that I really liked Shved and his potential when he burst onto the scene in 2012-13.
Let’s not forget that Shved averaged 11.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists in December 2012, when he started eight games. I viewed his performance as pretty typical for a rookie, but figured he would progress with a full season under his belt. Instead, he regressed and it started even before the 2012-13 season ended. Take a look at his overall per-36 minute statistics:
Not exactly a budding star, right? Take a look at the following video that shows some of Shved’s skills:
Where did that guy go? The Shved in the video was confident. He took shots in rhythm and didn’t think twice. He showed good court vision. He competed defensively. Heck, he even looked like he was having some fun out there.
Now, not so much. This goes back to last year as well. Remember when Ricky Rubio got in Shved’s ear?
The Timberwolves are taking that to a whole new level this year because they understand that a happy Shved produces much more than an unhappy Shved. On top of that, his countryman and one of his best friends in Andrei Kirilenko is off to Brooklyn. It’s a tough situation for Shved, as he’s still trying to do his best to learn English and adapt to the American culture. Coming from Russia, you can understand that it’s a bit of a shock.
Shved doesn’t seem too worried about it, though:
“Maybe sometimes I am thinking about the game and I am not smiling. First of all, this is the game. You need to win this game and afterward, I can smile.”
The Wolves didn’t do a whole lot of winning late last year, but have started the 2013-14 season quite well. Hopefully Alexey’s smile returns (if it was ever there) or at the very least he can start enjoying himself more after the game.