The 2013-2014 NBA season is going to be incredibly important for Alexey Shved in his second year with the Minnesota Timberwolves. As a rookie last year, he trailed off as the season went on and finished the year averaging just 8.6 points, 3.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 23.9 minutes per game while shooting only 37.2 percent from the floor and just 29.5 percent from three.
Coming into this season, Shved has a lot to prove. He needs to show the Wolves that he simply hit the rookie wall and can be a contributor to this team going forward, as well as showing them that he can survive without his friend and fellow Russian, Andrei Kirilenko, on the team anymore.
If Shved’s play through his first two games at Eurobasket 2013 with Russia is any indication of what’s to come in the NBA season, Shved is going to go beyond just proving himself and could find even more minutes than he saw last season, even with Minnesota’s improvements.
In his first game against Italy, he saw 27 minutes of playing time and finished with an impressive line of 17 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals on 7-17 shooting, but also 3-7 three-point shooting. In the second game of his tournament versus Greece, Shved finished with 17 points, four assists and three rebounds on 7-13 shooting in 30 minutes of time on the floor.
Shved has been aggressive and assertive at Eurobasket thus far and looks much more comfortable in this international competition than he did as an NBA rookie last year. There’s no question that he has the skills and capacity to succeed, but he has to play with the same style in the NBA game that he has in this tournament if he wants to prove his value to the Wolves in his sophomore season.