CSKA Moscow`s Alexey Shved scores agains

Timberwolves reach three-year deal with Russian guard Shved


Minnesota thinks it has found it’s long-term backup for Ricky Rubio.

They have reached a three-year, $10 million deal to bring in Russian point guard Alexey Shved, reports the Pioneer Press via Russia’s R-Sport. And they got him because of coach Rick Adelman.

“Minnesota’s a good, young and ambitious team,” said Shved, who also had offers from the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers. “All those factors were reasons to choose this club in particular, plus coach Adelman. They say that Rick trusts young players and discovers talents, and I’m ready to work for my part…”

Shved can play both guard positions. He averaged 10.6 points and 3.0 assists in the Euroleague, shooting 48.7 percent — 49.3 percent on three-pointers. In 22 Russian League games, he averaged 11.3 points and 3.3 assists.

I honestly don’t know much about Shved other than that he played for powerhouse CSKA Moscow, but DraftExpress has said he’s got a fluid game that should translate well to the NBA — his strengths are in the open court and as the pick-and-roll ball handler.

We will see, if he can be a solid backup behind Rubio for the next few years this will look like a very smart move.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.