NEW YORK (NBA) - It's taken just three games for Russia's Alexey Shved to show that he’s a perfect fit for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
A dynamic guard, the 23-year-old is using his experience with CSKA Moscow and Russia's national side as a launch pad for NBA stardom.
Shved, who drilled the go-ahead three-pointer for Russia in the final minute of their bronze-medal triumph over Argentina at this summer’s Olympics in London, was at it again on Monday night in Minnesota’s 107-96 come-from-behind road win over the Brooklyn Nets.
He hit the Nets with a couple of daggers from the arc in the fourth quarter and also made a go-ahead shot with 2:35 remaining as the visiting T-Wolves prevailed.
The performance capped a remarkable comeback for Minnesota, who had trailed by 22 points in the contest but never lost faith and beat a Nets’ team that is owned by Russian Mikhail Prokhorov.
"For sure this was a very important game for Russia because everybody is watching and everybody wants to know who won this game," Shved said.
"We're happy we won."
Another reason why all of Russia tuned in is that Minnesota have another summer signing from Russia's national team in former Utah Jazz star Andrei Kirilenko.
Last year's Euroleague MVP with CSKA, Kirilenko had 16 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, four blocks and a steal against the Nets.
No muscle, no problem
One look at Shved does not strike fear into the hearts of opponents because he doesn’t carry much muscle on his frame.
In an interview before the start of the season, he was asked about the pounding he could take in the NBA and whether he felt stronger guards may try to take out-muscle him.
“For sure I need to up my kilos," the 1.98m Shved said at the time.
"I need some pounds. I will work on that."
In that same interview, Shved said that what he liked about the NBA is the freedom given to players.
"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."
Minnesota are 2-1 on the young season.
They were wise to sign Shved, who will be a key man next summer for Russia at the EuroBasket as they try to book a spot in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.