When people start talking about rookies in the NBA this season, the conversation naturally gravitates towards guys like Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond. Those players are having tremendous first years in the league. However, the Minnesota Timberwolves have a rookie guard in Alexey Shved that may not be a Rookie of the Year candidate, but that is proving he belongs in the Association.
The 24-year-old Shved has been playing professionally in Russia since he was 18 years old, but is a rookie in the NBA. That experience in Russia definitely shows in his play for Minnesota.
On the season, Shved is averaging 13.6 points, 5.8 assists, 3.2 boards and one steal per 36 minutes. Beyond his numbers, Shved also brings a ton of energy on both ends of the floor to the Timberwolves and has the composure of a player with much more NBA-experience than he has. He never seems rattled by any situation, something that’s promising when looking at a rookie.
The only knocks against Shved are his perimeter defense and his offensive efficiency. Defensively, he sometimes gets lost in rotations and allows opponents either open jumpers or open driving lanes to the rim. However, that’s a problem many rookies in the league deal with and improve upon with experience.
As far as his shooting efficiency goes, he’s only shooting 37.7 percent from the field, which is obviously less than desirable. But part of that has to be attributed to the absence of Kevin Love and the time Ricky Rubio missed at the beginning of the season. Both of those players open up the floor for Minnesota and allow their teammates to have better chances to score. Even with that, the Timberwolves will still be looking for Shved to take better and more efficient shots as he comes along.
Despite his shortcomings, there is obvious promise in Shved. Rookies who come into the NBA with the composure and developed skill-sets that he has are a rarity. If he improves upon his weaknesses over the rest of this season and in the future, it’s undeniable that Minnesota will have another solid guard on their young roster.