Archives For Alexey Shved

Timberwolves sign Lazar Hayward

Zach Harper —  December 31, 2012 — 1 Comment

LazarHayward

With the final roster spot vacated because of Josh Howard’s torn ACL, the Timberwolves have settled on Lazar Hayward to provide some depth on the wing. After working out James Anderson, Joey Graham and Hayward this past week (according to the Star Tribune), the Wolves have settled on Hayward after James Anderson went to the Houston Rockets.

As many of you may remember, Hayward scored 160 points in 42 games as a rookie for the Wolves in the 2010-11 season before being dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder last December. Personally, I would have preferred James Anderson because he does more offensively and would fill more of the shooting guard role the Wolves need when they decide to go small or even just to have backup for Shved at times. Anderson can also play the 3 in a pinch. However, Hayward will most likely provide a few minutes here and there to save Andrei Kirilenko’s legs and back and allow Adelman to not lose too much size at the backup small forward position, if he decides to keep Derrick Williams more at the 4 when he plays him.

The deal is non-guaranteed, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he was only here for a week or two as they try to acquire or sign someone else to fill in for the rest of the season.

So yeah… that’s pretty much all there is to this story.

Oh wait, there is one more thingContinue Reading…

LoveDunk

The makeup of what this team is good at and what they struggle to do still confounds me a bit.

Going into this season, I don’t think there were many people who assumed the Wolves would struggle offensively (22nd) and be a defensive juggernaut of sorts (6th). A big part of the reason is the outside shooting of the Timberwolves. This team is still under 30% on the season and no team in the history of the NBA has taken more 3-pointers per game while making under 30% of them. The Wolves just can’t shoot the 3-ball right now and probably won’t shoot it well until Kevin Love gets back into rhythm and Chase Budinger gets back onto the court.

Until that happens, the Wolves have to go inside and they have to be clever about the way they go inside. Just straight pounding the ball into the post with Love and Pek is too basic to be consistently effective against opposing defenses. The Wolves have an advantage in the frontcourt that most teams don’t seem to have around the league. Between Andrei Kirilenko, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love, there are few SF/PF/C hydras as crafty at scoring the basketball as the Wolves’ trio.  Continue Reading…

AlexeyShvedPose

Alexey Shved notched the first double-double of his career with 12 points, 12 assists, and he even grabbed seven rebounds too. He shot well from 3-point range and turned the ball over just one time. I’d say it was the best game of his short career, considering the match-ups he had throughout the night and the solid defense he played one game after getting annihilated by Dwyane Wade.

@AndrewQ_ on Twitter sent along this highlight video of Shved’s plays from the victory over the Thunder Thursday night.

The pass at the 50-second mark was definitely my favorite play of his from last night.

How do we feel about his performance, fellas?

Sleeping unicorns are the least fun unicorns.

What a fantastic win for the Minnesota Timberwolves last night. I wrote yesterday that to be a really good team, you have to win games that should be wins. The Wolves need to win games like this against the Magic and that’s exactly what they did. Kevin Love was phenomenal in his performance. It was great to see him back to being himself.

He knocked down 3-pointers as the trailer in transition, he scored out of the post, and he was active going to the basket. Andrei Kirilenko’s passing was incredible and it seemed to be contagious with Love. This was by far his best passing performance of the season. It didn’t result in any assists, but I thought he moved the ball extremely well. He helped Nikola Pekovic dominate the paint inside. The Wolves didn’t finish at a high rate in there, but you could tell they were determined to break the will of the Orlando interior and that’s exactly what they did.

I was disappointed that Ricky Rubio didn’t really have much impact on the team when he played, but you can’t expect him to be a unicorn at all times. Sometimes unicorns have to sleep and that seemed to be what he needs to do. But overall, I think we can be extremely proud of the tenacity, execution, and effort that the Wolves showed us. This is what good teams do. They take care of lesser teams in a destructive and matter of fact manner.

What’s that? No, I didn’t watch the second half. Why? What happened? Did Ricky have a great second half I should be talking about? Did Love end up with 40-20? Did Pekovic eat the Epcot Center and then reconstruct Disney World into Euro Disney with all of failed robots from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride?  Continue Reading…

Rubio_ShveD_ABB

With Ricky Rubio’s return from last season’s ACL injury growing ever more imminent (possibly as soon as Wednesday against the Nuggets), considerations about what it will mean for this team going forward have blossomed. One of the most exciting is the prospect of Rubio and Alexey Shved playing together in the backcourt. But that excitement doesn’t come without a healthy dose of trepidation. After all, pairing Rubio with a player like Kevin Love is a no-brainer as far as fit goes: One handles the ball and distributes, the other shoots and rebounds. There isn’t a lot of overlap in their games. But then you watch a clip like this of Shved’s highlights against the Bucks, and you might be forgiven for wondering how they’ll work together with games that can appear so similar.

But never fear: I’ve been listening to the Allman Brothers Band. Continue Reading…

First of all, his name is Alonzo Gee and he likes to dunk.

Little known fact: The Timberwolves were in Gee’s first NBA team. After going undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft, Gee was signed by Minnesota on September 24, 2009, then his contract was put on waivers on October 6. It was a brief run that, sadly, did not contain any dunks.

But back to the matter at hand. No one would call this a pretty win, but it was a game in which the Wolves never trailed, and that’s encouraging. After games in which they’ve wilted against teams both superior and inferior, sometimes coming back and other times never climbing out of that hole, the Wolves hung tough even when Cleveland tied the game at 35-35 with 2:12 left in the second quarter. They went on a run to end the first half and kept the lead stable until about halfway through the fourth quarter when they started to push it out and Cleveland seemed to pack it in. It was a slow game, but that’s the way the Wolves have preferred to play this year; they came in under their season average of 93.2 points per game, which is 25th in the league. Continue Reading…

Second night of a back-to-back is hard to win, especially when you’re facing a veteran team like the Boston Celtics on the road. The tricky part is this isn’t the normal Boston Celtics team we’re used to seeing. This is an offensive-oriented team that is harder to keep up with than they are to score against. When you’re a team that misses out on as many easy points as the Wolves did Wednesday night, it’s hard to keep up.

After the deluge of 3-pointers that rained down on the 76ers Tuesday night, the Wolves went much colder from 3-point range. 31.6% is a bad shooting night, but it’s above what the Wolves have done so far this year. However, losing because you made only 14-of-30 free throw attempts in a road game is just frustrating.

This isn’t a good free throw shooting team either. Heading into tonight’s game, the Wolves were 24th in the NBA in free throw percentage. The volume of free throw attempts the Wolves usually get can help them make up for it typically (Wolves have the third best FT/FGA rate in the league). But when you dip below 50% on 30 attempts in a game, there really aren’t a lot of questions as to why you lost the game. Maybe I should write 2,400 words on why the Wolves are a terrible free throw shooting team and see if they can make my effort look completely futile once again?

The funny thing about free throw shooting is the only way to improve on it is to simply hone your mechanics and make them. It’s not like other shots in the NBA where you can devise a plan to get better looks at the rim. You’re getting the same looks at the rim every time. Either they’re concentrating too much or not enough or this porridge is too cold. Whatever the reason is they’re not making them, at a certain point excuses of tired legs and poor conditioning due to injuries have to end and the Wolves just have to make them.

The one thing I noticed about this game is the Wolves never seemed to have much flow on offense while having a defensive presence. What I mean by that is the Wolves were never really clicking well enough on both ends at the same time to go on extended runs in this game. Even in frustrating losses or hard-fought victories this season, the Wolves were able to go on runs throughout different points of the ball game to establish some kind of cushion or some kind of momentum. Whether it was the poor 3-point shooting or the poor free throw shooting, the Wolves were never in a groove on both ends.

The Celtics went on four different big runs throughout the game. They had an 11-1 run in the first quarter, a 10-0 run in the second quarter, a 9-0 run in the third quarter and another 11-1 run in the fourth quarter. The Wolves had a 10-0 run in the first quarter and that was about it. Poor free throw shooting, bad 3-point shooting, and no extended runs after the first quarter. This is how teams lose the second night of a road back-to-back.

I’m not quite sure what else could have been done, either. This was just one of those games.

One thing I would have liked to see more of is the Wolves pounding the ball inside. More than half of their points came in the paint, and they had a real size advantage with Pek and Love on the floor. While Love struggled against KG at times, there was a lot of cross-screening, pick-and-roll switches, and quick hitter stuff the Wolves could have done to get Love a mismatch inside. And once that happens, he can either score quickly or find a cutter coming through the lane. There could have been much more movement.

The Wolves played a game with 98 possessions and typically they like to play around 94 possessions. The tempo of the game was never theirs, and that’s where you want to see them pound the ball inside more. Find Pek when he has position. Trust him to make smart passes out of double teams. Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger can’t handle Pek inside. Neither can Chris Wilcox. When JJ Barea and Alexey Shved are in the game, I’m all for pushing the tempo. But when you don’t have the personnel to push (and without Ricky on the floor yet, the Wolves really don’t), then you have to grind out possessions and punish teams with your size.

Sure, you’re going to get some shots blocked. We saw that against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, eventually you’ll get the other team’s interior to break down. Granted, you might end up going to the free throw line more and that wasn’t a good thing in this game. I’d just like to see the Wolves take advantage of their advantages more often.

Minnesota now has tomorrow off before the battered Cavaliers come to town. Hopefully they can take advantage of the matchup and get back to .500.

The NBA 3-point line has been around since the 1979-80 NBA season. Even the rule change was supposed to help usher in a new era of basketball from the 1970s to the 1980s, it wasn’t exactly an accepted practice to start chucking 3-pointers like we see teams doing today. Instead, it was a seldom-used arrow in the quiver for most NBA teams.

Because it wasn’t a widely practiced action in the NBA and used more for shooting games after practice than anything else, we saw some hilariously low 3-point production from NBA teams during the first 13 seasons of the 3-point arc. The 1982-83 Los Angeles Lakers have the lowest 3-point percentage in NBA history. They shot just 10.4% from the 3-point line that season. Sounds absurdly low, right? Well, they only took 96 attempts that season and made 10 of them. They also went on to win the Western Conference Finals because they had Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

From the 79-80 season through the 2011-12 season, there have been 171 teams in NBA history who have shot less than 29% from 3-point range in a season. But the problem with this statistic is the 3-pointer wasn’t really a thing until the 1992-93 season. In the first 13 years of the NBA 3-point line, only three teams (88-89 New York Knicks, 90-91 Denver Nuggets, 91-92 Milwaukee Bucks) took more than 1,000 3-point attempts in an NBA season. That total doubled after the Suns, Hawks, and Rockets all attempted over 1,000 3-pointers in the 92-93 season.

In the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, only seven teams DIDN’T attempt at least 1,000 3-pointers.

Why this little bit of 3-point history?  Continue Reading…

big-beautiful-buckOn Friday night, I made passing reference both to the Wolves’ anemic third quarter and to J.J. Barea’s tendency toward overdribbling and playing too fast. Barea tends to play a more even-keeled game when the offense is functioning well, as it was in the first half on Friday; he played within the context of the offense, scored 11 points on seven shots and dropped five dimes. But when the Wolves bog down offensively, Barea tends toward those bad habits. A perfect case in point is that third quarter, in which the Wolves scored 11 points on 19% shooting, committed five turnovers and had four of their shots blocked. It was pretty ugly and Barea was at the center of the ugliness. Two plays illustrate my point.

Continue Reading…

From the team’s press release:

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy underwent successful arthroscopic surgery today on his right knee. The surgery was performed by Timberwolves team orthopaedic surgeon Dr. David Fischer at the TRIA Orthopaedic Center in Bloomington, Minn.  Roy is expected to be out approximately one month.

“Brandon had been experiencing some right knee pain, dating back to Oct. 26, when he banged knees with a Milwaukee Bucks player in a preseason game,” said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn. “The pain became more pronounced on Nov. 9 during our game against Indiana. We fully support Brandon’s decision to have today’s arthroscopic procedure, and look forward to his return when he feels ready to play.”

Roy has played in five games this season, averaging 5.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Roy was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Wolves on July 31, 2012.

So what does this mean? What does it change?

Nothing really. The Wolves are still a team that isn’t depending on Brandon Roy, only now there isn’t a question of “will he be back soon?” hanging over the depth chart’s head. Roy has always been and will always be a luxury on this team. By all accounts so far, he’s been a great presence in the locker room and even if that’s all he is for $5 million this season, it’s a nice change from the lack of focus that infected last season’s roster (once the injuries occurred).

I don’t believe Roy is done yet. I think he’ll probably be back well after the approximated “one month” timetable, but I do believe he’ll be back. I think we’ll have a couple of special Roy moments and then he’ll retire after this season. That could just be naiveté talking but I think he’s got more fight left in him. He wasn’t a scorer but he was a distributor during his few minutes with the Wolves so far. If he’s helping them make plays for even 20 minutes a game, it’s worth it.

The reason this isn’t such a disappointment in terms of the team concept is two-fold. 1) I think we all knew we had to temper our expectations with Roy’s return and for the most part, people have done that. 2) Alexey Shved has emerged off the bench and has added much needed depth and playmaking with the second unit and at the end of games.

We don’t know when Roy will be back, but Pek, Barea, Love, and Rubio will all be back within the next month or so. Some (Pek and Barea) will be much earlier than others. This is still a good team and I’m still feeling good about their chances moving forward. Wish Roy a speedy recovery.