FanPost

Let's talk about Shvex, baby! And AK-47s

I decided to write this up 2 days after watching Russia's first game and about 12 hours after watching their second. I don't completely remember these two games, and I wasn't taking notes so this is not the most accurate analysis. Hope you enjoy anyway. Also, you can always just head on over to nbcolympics.com to watch replays of the action for yourself.

I've been pretty impressed by these two. There may have only been two games against inferior opponents, but we the fans of the Timberwolves deserve to be excited about something. Well, let's get it on.

Game 1: Great Britain 75, Russian Federation 95

Not their toughest competition, but still some NBA-level talent. Both Shvexy (What a sweet nickname RIGHT!?) and AK 47 looked really good.

MIN

FGM-A

3PM-A

FTM-A

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

PTS

A Kirilenko, F

35

14-17

1-2

6-8

1

3

4

1

2

3

1

3

35

A Shved, G

30

6-11

2-4

2-2

2

4

6

13

3

1

4

0

16

Kirilenko:

Andrei Kirilenko was simply phenomenal against Great Britain. He looked like the best player on the floor. He shot really well going 14-17. A big positive about his shooting was that he just didn't take any really dumb shots. He passed up the potential bad shots and moved the ball to his teammates. AK 47 also took many efficient shots. Lots of free throws, alley-oops (a few from Shvexy), dunks, and layups. 35 points in a 40 minute game is pretty nice.

Definsively he was a beast. He spent a lot of time matched up against NBA All-Star Luol Deng. Kirilenko recorded 2 steals and 3 blocks, but they don't tell the story about how awesome his help defense was. Kirilenko was like a hawk swooping in to cover his teammates' mistakes. I'm very excited for him to be a Timberwolf.

Shved (Shvexy):

Alexey Shved looked like Russian Rubio with a nice jump shot in this performance. He was dishing out fancy passes to teammates and stroking threes all while wearing one of those headbands Europeans and young girls wear while playing soccer. There were a few times where he worried more about looking cool than playing well. I can remember one turnover coming on a 2-on-1 break that should have been an easy bucket. Instead, he went for they style points and ended up turning the ball over. The pick-and-roll Shved runs looks beautiful. He can really find his way through the defense and either dish it to a teammate or go up for a layup. His athleticism was also put on display following a nice alley-oop. If he brings the skills he showed to the NBA, I reckon we are in for one exciting T-pup offense.

Alexey's defense was a nice surprise. He managed to snag 3 steals and put pressure on his man throughout the contest. Now, he wasn't matched up against any real NBA talent (just a 36 year old English guard), but still managed to look good. His supposed lack of wingspan wasn't a real problem this time around as he was able to cause trouble for team GB. I'm excited to watch him play against some of the high quality guards on Brazil, Spain, Argentina, France, or the USA to get a better read on his defensive skills.

Game 2: China 54, Russian Federation 73

MIN

FGM-A

3PM-A

FTM-A

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

PTS

A Kirilenko, F

31

7-12

0-2

2-3

2

7

9

0

4

1

2

0

16

A Shved

29

6-11

2-5

0-0

0

1

1

6

2

0

3

1

14

Kirilenko:

He wasn't as efficient as he was last time out against Team GB, but still put up a solid offensive performance. The confidence from last time out seemed to go to AK's head a bit and he wound up taking some not so great shots. He also didn't get to the line as much against China as he did against the Brits, but FIBA officials are pretty inconsistent, so meh (also see: sample size). Overall, it was another solid performance out of Kirilenko. I wouldn't expect much less from last year's Euroleague MVP.

On the defensive end I was impressed again by Kirilenko's effort. He showed why he had giant wings tatted on his back, swooping in and ruining the days of his Chinese opponents. His help defense is impressive, and will surely be a nice addition for the Wolves. The only real question (if there is one at all) we have about AK was if he is too old. His performances so far have shown that we don't have much to worry about. His (occasional) matchup for this game, Yi Jianlian, has looked good in his 2 Olympic performances this year. BUT he couldn't get off the bench for the Mavs this year. Like Shvexy it will be nice to see AK match up against some more NBA or top Euorpean talent again to really see if there is any rust or old-age concerns.

Shved:

Shved's shot looked a little more like Ricky's against the Chinese. We saw a few more clanks out of him and it looked like he had a false sense of confidence, at times taking some bad shots. He also kept up the "I'm too Shvexy for a Boring Pass" routine and tried to force some fancy looks that resulted in turnovers. Besides a few bad shots and a couple stupid passes, he looked really good. The turnovers are almost worth it when he connects with his teammates on beautiful alley-oops, but RAdleman will certainly get frustrated with Shved's occasional carelessness. Once again, he ran some great pick-and-rolls, and sliced through the defense to get to the paint a few times. Air Bud will certainly be happy to nail a decent amount of corner threes coming off these drives. I can't wait to see Shvexy don the Twolves uni.

On the defensive end he was a pleasant surprise again. Shved pressured his opponents and caused a few turnovers. He ended up with 2 steals, and really put in a pretty good performance. I did notice that he struggles to get around screens, which scouts have pointed out. We didn't really sign him for his defensive prowess anyway, so anything we get out of him on this end is just a bonus as far as I'm concerned.

NEXT UP:

Russian Federation vs. Brazil, 10:45 A.M. CST Thursday

Set your DVRs, watch a live stream at work, or just tune into the Olympics Basketball Channel because this one should be a good test. Brazil hasn't looked as impressive as they did in an exhibition against the Americans before the Olympics, but they are still 2-0. Scouts and analysts say that Alex Garcia, Brazil's PG, is one of the best guards in the world not playing in the NBA. That'll give Shved a nice test. Brazil also brings NBA caliber forwards and big men for AK 47 to match up against. Leandro Barbosa, Anderson Varejao, Tiago Splitter, and Nene look to make things a bit tougher for Kirilenko. This is a big game and will decide seeds (and possibly who moves on) for the next round. I didn't plan on making a pick, but what the hell... let's go with Russia, as they've looked great so far.

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